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Lone Star College System to harness 'big data' to increase student completion

HOUSTON (Dec 12, 2012) Lone Star College System has announced its commitment to a ground-breaking project exploring effective uses of predictive analytics of data to improve student success.  

The Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework uses pattern strategy from big data aggregation to predict risks to student retention and it will help enable higher education institutions to proactively identify and remove potential barriers to student retention and improve student completion.

The PAR Framework is a project of the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET), a membership-driven, nonprofit organization that provides solutions and services to advance technology-enhanced teaching and learning in the higher education industry.

“Lone Star College System’s number one strategic goal is student success and credential completion,” said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. “The PAR Framework model will help us evaluate data trends to improve the experience of our students and identify risks and obstacles before, instead of after, they become problems.

“This use of data as an additional tool will help us increase the number of our students who make it to the finish line and make it there quickly. It complements ongoing completion efforts throughout LSCS, like Achieving the Dream, Texas Completes and My Degree Counts,” said Dr. Carpenter.

As one of 10 new institutions joining the six founding PAR Framework partner institutions, LSCS will contribute its institutional data records to a set of data shared by these colleges – an aggregated set that will exceed 1 million “anonymized” student records, or records without the student’s name or other identifiers.

The goal of this research is to validate and extend the PAR Framework data model, data definitions, and research and analysis protocols that were developed by partner institutions during a successful PAR Framework “proof of concept” demonstration in early 2012.

Implementation going forward will offer institutions resources that are easy to understand, including reports, dashboards and decision-support tools, to anticipate threats to student achievement, and remove barriers to student success before they become problems.

“With 16 participating institutions and over 1 million anonymized student records in the shared data set, it will be possible for the PAR Framework to pursue our goal of identifying trends that contribute to student success, program momentum, and online course completion,” said Dr. Phil Ice, principal investigator for the PAR Framework.

“The cross section of community college, four-year and for-profit institutions, featuring everything from traditional to progressive and competency-based programs, will significantly advance our modeling capabilities,” Ice said.

More information about the PAR Framework and its partner institutions can be found on the PAR Framework website at http://parframework.org.

With 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.

The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is a cooperative, membership-driven, non-profit provider of solutions and services that accelerate the adoption of effective practices and policies, advancing excellence in technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education. More information about WCET’s institutional membership resources, services and common interest groups can be found on WCET’s website, http://wcet.wiche.edu.