Ohio State University to join national study to evaluate analytics-based advising

U.S. Department of Education awards $8.9 million to University Innovation Alliance for four-year study

By: Amy Murray

Published on September 25, 2015

The Ohio State University, as a member of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), will participate in a four-year, 11-institution study to evaluate the effectiveness of advising in increasing retention, progression and graduation rates for low-income and first-generation students.

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced the UIA’s selection as one of the winners in its First in the World competition to encourage innovation among institutions of higher education. Georgia State University, on behalf of the UIA, has been awarded $8.9 million to conduct the study

“Today, more institutions are turning to data and analytics to help personalize advising, and identify struggling students before they get too far off track,” said Bridget Burns, UIA executive director. “Our mission is to test new ideas, understand what works, and scale effective innovations across the country to ensure that more students have the supports they need to complete college. The First in the World grant will enable us to study the work already taking place at our 11 institutions, and test best practices using data analytics that we can share with and beyond the Alliance.”

The project will study 10,000 students who are exposed to an intensive menu of proactive, analytics-based advising interventions at the UIA universities. Through quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, the study will examine the benefits, especially for at-risk students, of introducing systematic, proactive advising.

“Ohio State is proud to be part of this national partnership of universities that is using its data analytics research to increase graduation rates for students,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “We look forward to hosting the next meeting of the UIA and advancing collaboration to help more students graduate with a high-quality and affordable education.”

Ohio State Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Steinmetz says the university has already started looking at ways to use predictive analytics to identify when a student needs help, and so looks forward to joining the UIA study.

“We are currently installing a predictive analytics system to help us deliver more proactive approaches to advising,” said Steinmetz. “When operational, that system will alert advisers to patterns that signal the need for early interventions to help ensure students’ progress toward graduation. The new UIA study will mine national data to better inform and hone strategic decisions for effective outcomes.”

As part of the study, students at each of the 11 universities will be selected by random assignment and will receive, in addition to advising services typically offered, (a) intensive, proactive advisement to help them establish individualized academic maps, (b) real-time alerts prompted by a system of analytics-based tracking when they may be struggling, and (c) timely, targeted advising interventions to get them back on the appropriate academic path.

Launched just one year ago, the UIA is a consortium of public research universities established to help more students from all socioeconomic backgrounds graduate from college. This year, all institutions are implementing or scaling the use of data analytics and advising to improve student retention and college completion.

The University Innovation Alliance includes:

Arizona State University
Georgia State University
Iowa State University
Michigan State University
Ohio State University
Oregon State University
Purdue University
University of California, Riverside
University of Central Florida
University of Kansas
University of Texas at Austin


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Amy Murray
614-292-8385 | Email

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