Evidence of the Month: Georgia State University


Each month, we highlight one of the new additions to the LACE Evidence Hub, which brings together evidence about learning analytics. You are welcome to add to the Hub site, which you can visit via a tab at the top of this page.

Evidence of the Month for September 2015 is two videos of Tim Renick talking to the US Senate about the successful large-scale application of predictive analytics at Georgia State University.

The university aims to ensure – using reliable data – that students are doing what they need to do within the context of their ability and their resources and that they are making significant progress towards their degrees.

Renick, who is Vice Provost of the university, explains that they are using data proactively, picking up on problems that are associated with low grades or student dropout. He states that this has resulted in

  • Reduction of the average time it takes students to gain a degree
  • 1700 more students graduating annually than did so five years ago
  • Elimination of achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity and economics.

The university is currently tracking 30,000 students, using predictive modeling based on ten years of data and 800 risk factors.

Students each have individual pathways, made up of a set of courses they should be taking each semester. Students who are making mistakes will find this out almost immediately, as the analytics will trigger a one-to-one meeting with an adviser. These meetings are personalized, engaging students, who get to know their support team better than was the case in the past. Early weaknesses in performance are addressed by immediate interventions, so they are removed rather than compounded.

In most cases, our Evidence of the Month refers to academic papers that present both detailed data and analysis. These short videos do not do this, but they do provide evidence of analytics being rolled out at scale, and of engagement with these analytics at a national level.

Citation: ‘Georgia State University – Dr. Tim Renick’ (2015), YouTube, uploaded by Georgia State University | URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z-hp5NrSBg



About Author

Rebecca is a lecturer at The Open University in the UK, focused on educational futures, learning analytics, MOOCs, augmented learning and online social learning. She is a member of the steering committee of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and was Workshops Chair of the second Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference (LAK 2012). She co-chaired the 1st and 2nd International Workshops on Discourse-Centric Learning Analytics, held in Belgium and the US, as well as the first UK SoLAR Flare (a national learning analytics event). Her most recent publication is the book ‘Augmented Education’, published by Palgrave in May 2014. Rebecca is working on the LACE work package relating to learning analytics in higher education.

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