Using Big Data To Predict Future College Standouts And Strugglers

Wichita State University is one of a growing number of higher-education institutions that are using predictive analysis tools to help them determine how well incoming students will do.

What's the Latest Development?

For several years now, administrators at Wichita State University have been able to determine the success of its incoming class with the help of predictive analysis software from IBM. Furthermore, with an accuracy rate of 96 percent, the software did a better job of identifying which students would succeed than did external consultants, whose accuracy rate came in at 82 percent. Some of the many data points used included a student's paper grades, the number of hours enrolled, and the amount of financial assistance they received from family.

What's the Big Idea?

Wichita State is one of a growing number of colleges and universities that are incorporating data science into a variety of administrative practices including admissions. IBM executive Michael King says Big Data and predictive analysis have the potential to change higher education in the same way they are changing health care: "We provide prescriptive solutions to help make recommendations to clinicians around potential treatment opportunities, how to intervene with certain patients, and we see parallels in education where we can use data to personalize the educational experience."

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