Predictive Analytics Reporting: Using technology to help students succeed

November 18, 2014

With over 40,000 students with their own experiences and education, it can be difficult to believe there are any commonalities among them. However, at the core, every person is just a person, every student just a student. And, every one of them with the same goal – get a valuable higher education. To help North Dakota students succeed, the North Dakota University System has requested funding for Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR). The PAR framework uses national comparative data to alert faculty and staff to behaviors that may need monitoring and provide them with the tools to intervene productively, if needed.

This past year, the University of North Dakota served as the pilot program in North Dakota for the use of PAR to help students succeed. What UND discovered is that PAR is much more than a technology program. It is a cultural tool. During a presentation to the State Board of Higher Education last month, Tom DiLorenzo, UND provost and vice president for academic affairs, described their experience as a true partnership between academic affairs, student affairs and finance/operations creating a culture of vision, strategic decisions and accountability.

PAR Culture

“UND was a great case study for the PAR Framework and they confirmed that this could be successful across the system,” said Lisa Feldner, NDUS vice chancellor of information technology and institutional research. “By leveraging technology and mining our data, NDUS will be able to make informed decisions and maximize the student experience at our institutions.”

PAR is a massive data analysis effort using multi-institutional data and predictive analytics to identify drivers related to loss and momentum and to inform student loss prevention. By assigning students anonymous identifiers, PAR is able to determine trends across the United States while the student’s institution maintains their secure personal records. PAR data inputs include: student demographics and descriptive information, course catalog, student course information, student academic progress, student financial information, lookup tables for specific information, and other potential inputs like placement test results, intervention measures and information from the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS).

Typically, the key indicators of student success and factors in national ranking are retention and graduation rates. By embracing a philosophy of enrollment management and leveraging the PAR framework to make informed decisions regarding student success systems, institutions are able to more accurately improve those indicators.

PAR Scalable to NDUS

If budget funding is approved, the PAR framework will be implemented across the university system. System-wide data will ensure greater service to North Dakota students fulfilling the Board’s strategic plan and creating the NDUS Edge students need to succeed.