US institutions use analytics software to improve retention rates

August 14, 2014

A growing number of US institutions are turning to data to help improve student retention rates. At the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, freshmen students fill out 3 surveys through a retention-and-success program called EBI MAP-Works. The program uses predictive analytics to identify at-risk students. Counsellors are also able to use the data to work with and advise students whose profiles indicate that they would benefit from interventions. Such technologically driven approaches to retention are yielding new insights for academic administrators, sometimes calling into question assumptions that undergirded less empirical approaches to retention. For instance, Montclair State University in New Jersey used intelligence from an Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) program to identify and ameliorate upper-year students’ confusion about their advisors. National data also indicate that retention is not just a first-year issue, as is often believed; IPAS software, some say, can help improve retention rates of students in what is called the “murky middle” after second year. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)