Lone Star College uses predictive analytics to better target struggling students

A recent article describes of the use of predictive analytics at Lone Star College.  In the past, male students—specifically, Hispanic and African American males—have been targeted through programs to improve their academic performance.  By incorporating predictive analytics—the practice of examining data for patterns and predictors—the college determined that Hispanic males actually performed better, on average, than all male students with regard to rates of persistence; however, African American male students were struggling. Although predictive analytics are not exact, it can provide useful assistance in identifying and better targeting students most in need of support. At present, the Lone Star College predictive system is a work-in-progress, and it is estimated to take another year before the system is implemented.

Another college has also used predictive analytics with hopeful results. Valencia College implemented a similar system three years ago and has seen anecdotal evidence that at-risk students are quickly connected with necessary support.  Former assistant vice president for institutional effectiveness and planning, Kurt Ewen, emphasized, however, that the power of the system is not in the predictive analytics, but comes from both the faculty and leadership that empowers and recognizes faculty as part of the solution.

Source:  Digital Community College Journal


Learner Support System used to track dev ed students

After finding that commercial software to track students’ use of learning support services was inflexible and expensive, developmental faculty at South Mountain Community College worked with IT employees to design their own system.  The result was LSS, the Learner Support System now used at the college, located in Maricopa County, AZ.  The web-based application was first implemented in the summer of 2013 and, after the first year, provided the college with the data necessary to compare students’ usage rates (from LSS) to passing and retention rates.  The comparison indicated a difference between students who used three or more hours of support services (e.g., tutoring, supplemental instruction, and workshops) and those who did not–a finding that led to a new requirement of dev ed students to complete at least three hours of tutoring, study group, or other learning support.  In the years since implementing LSS, the college has seen double-digit gains in student success and retention.  LSS is now used in the college’s TRIO program and cohorts in other specialized areas, as well as four sister colleges in the district.

Source:  Campus Technology