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Analytics: What is The Best Predictor of Success in Algebra 1?
In 2002, Greater Atlanta's Gwinnett County public school system had a problem. Student performance was dropping, and graduation rates for at-risk kids and underprivileged teenagers especially were in decline.
Gwinnett, in suburban Atlanta, is the 14th-largest school system in the United States, has 23,000 employees and transports more people every school day than locally based Delta Air Lines. All that activity generates information, more and more of it captured digitally. And in 2002, as the school system's leaders continued seeking fresh educational solutions, they began to explore how analytics could help--how all that information could be investigated for patterns, relationships, dependencies, predictors. The question: What aspects of an educationally at-risk student's performance most accurately predicted whether he or she would eventually graduate?
The analytics-driven answer: Algebra I. But how could you get kids who had historically struggled at math--who had failed prior courses in earlier years--to improve enough that they could pass Algebra I? What did the data advise about that?
The answer was astonishing. What turned out to be the best predictor of Algebra I success for students who had failed previous math courses? Success at eighth-grade creative writing.
MIT Sloan Management Review
Big Data, Analytics And The Path From Insights To Value
03.08.11, 11:05 AM ET
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