Big Data and Analytics as Tools for Closing the Achievement Gap

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 313 (Hynes Convention Center)
Timothy Renick, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Georgia State University has raised its graduation rates by 22 percentage points and, in the process, elimintaed all achievement gaps based on students' race, ethnicity and income level. It now confers more bachelors degrees to black students than any college or university in the nation. The presntation will look at the role that predicitive analytics and proactive, data-based interventions have played in these gains and in leveling the playing field between student populations. Through a data project involving 2.5 million grades and 140,000 student records, Georgia State identified more than 800 factors that have contributed historically to its students failing academically. It now traces each of the 800 factors for every student daily and notifies academic advisors at the first sign of a problem. This system prompted more than 51,000 face-to-face meetings between advisors and students during the 2015-16 academic year alone, has led to a decline in average time to degree of over half a semester, and has helped the university to more than double the number of STEM graduates among several at-risk student groups, including black males and Latinos. Under a $9 million U.S. Department of Education grant led by the presenter, Georgia State's program is now being replicated via a random-control trial involving 10,000 low-income students across eleven large public universities nationally.