Early warning system for students in academic trouble

Academics at Georgia State University in Atlanta have devised a computerised system that can flag a student who needs academic support or advice, perhaps long before the student is aware. One of the major benefits of the system might be to address racial achievement gaps, writes John Bohannon for Science.

It took four years to build and test. Georgia State University or GSU's Vice Provost Timothy Renick debuted its results recently at a session of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science. Four years ago, GSU had achievement gaps similar to other urban universities with low-income students, with graduation rates about 10% lower for ‘at risk’ students. "Today we have no achievement gap," he says. And the number of students graduating with science-related degrees has doubled among black students.

Other universities are signing up. With a US$9 million grant from the US Department of Education, 11 institutions are now launching randomly controlled trials of the GSU system on their own campuses. And administrators from South African universities are now exploring ways to collect similar data to help their students, who face some of the largest racial achievement gaps in the world.
Full report on the Science site