WCET Receives Grant for Groundbreaking Higher Education Analytic Research

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Study for using predictive analytics frameworks on blended, cross-institutional datasets to improve postsecondary outcomes in the U.S. begins immediately

WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
We all have a vested interest in improving student outcomes in the United States, says Dr. Ellen Wagner, Executive Director, WCET

WICHE, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, announced today that WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund an initiative to unify student data from six U.S. institutions and demonstrate the effective use of predictive analytic methods for improving student outcomes. The goal is to identify variables that influence student retention and progression, and guide decision-making that improves postsecondary student completion in the U.S.    

This grant for the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework will aggregate data representing more than 400,000 student records from across six WCET member institutions: American Public University System, Colorado Community College System, Rio Salado College, University of Hawaii System, University of Illinois Springfield, and the University of Phoenix. Each participating institution has been exploring or implementing descriptive, inferential or predictive analytics projects on their own student data; the PAR Framework expands on this work through exploration of patterns that can be derived when the six institutional datasets are considered as a single, unified sample.

The principal investigator is Phil Ice, Ed.D., American Public University System (APUS). The project will incorporate many of the best practices and award-winning predictive analytical methods for which Dr. Ice has been recognized by the Sloan Consortium and for which project partner Dr. Vernon Smith, Rio Salado College, has won the WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award. WCET has appointed Beth Davis, WCET, to serve as the project director.

“We all have a vested interest in improving student outcomes in the United States. WCET is thrilled that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given us the opportunity to convene this exemplary team of member institutions,” says Dr. Ellen Wagner, Executive Director, WCET. “Our ability to bring public and proprietary institutions together to cooperate on solving big education problems like the ones that the PAR research will address is one of the things that make WCET unique. We are proud to support the leadership efforts of our members, and are looking forward to uncovering patterns that inform decision-making for improving student retention, progression and completion.”

About WCET
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.

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Sherri Artz-Gilbert
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