Georgia State University’s Success On Concerted Action To Increase Number of College Graduates


When a person surfs the net, search engine's algorithms track a person's surfing habits and compares this with those of other people. These programs do predictive analytics as these try to predict a person's next action whether he will book a plane ticket, purchase a Spice Girl Album on iTunes, or apply for a credit card.

Almost half of the universities report that they are simulating the same technology with their students. This move can either help or harm college students, as reported by the New America Foundation. 

Authors Iris Palmer and Manuela Ekowo write about the risks involved: discrimination, invasion of privacy, and stigma for a group of students. Moreover, there might be the lack of transparency when making decisions as it is subjected to a computer program.

Georgia State University, a huge public institution in Atlanta with more than 24,000 college students, reports a story that is contrary to what others fear. This public university has limited resources for advising students since there is only one adviser for every 700 students, as reported by NPR Ed.

The university was pressed with the challenge of making better use of the time of these advisors and increase the number of students to graduate.

GSU employed the help of an external consulting firm and analyzed 2.5 million grades earned by students in various courses for the past 10 years to create a list of factors that decrease the chances of a student from graduating. An early-warning system was also created by the university and this was called as GPS, which means Graduation and Progression Success. This program is being updated every day and involves more than 700 red alerts that aim at helping advisers keep students on reaching the finish line.

A GPS alert does not entail a student to be put on academic probation but rather make it as a catalyst for a one-to-one conference between that student and an adviser.

With this success, GSU has been home to the many visits of representatives from more than 200 colleges who desire to copy the system.

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