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.