US universities identifying at-risk students to improve retention

October 18, 2013

Some American PSE institutions that participated in discussions on student data analytics at the annual Educause conference say they are seeing benefits of identifying at-risk students before they drop or fail a course, as opposed to after the fact. The University of Kentucky is one such institution; it rebuilt its university mobile app so that it could collect student information while also serving as the usual “digital gateway to the university.” uKentucky also pulls engagement data from the learning management system Blackboard Learn, and tracks when students attend campus events using an incentive system. In one example, should a student stop uploading assignments to Blackboard Learn, the mobile app could send an alert that could only be cleared once the student meets with the professor or an adviser -- and completes the work. Kentucky’s first- to second-year retention is up to about 81.5%, an increase of about 1.3%. Similarly, Purdue University recently launched software called Signals, which tracks students’ academic progress and sends them notifications about how they’re doing. Inside Higher Ed