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American Public University System Partners with WCETon Pioneering Predictive Analytics Research Project

May 19, 2011
Pilot Program to Assess and Report Results of Pooled Data to Help Improve Retention and Learning Outcomes of Online Students

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va., May 19, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

American Public University System (APUS) today announced that VP of Research and Development Dr. Phil Ice will take a leadership role as principal investigator for the Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework (PAR) project, initiated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education's Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). The news follows an April 11 APUS announcement of its receipt of a related analytics research grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges.

PAR will explore the patterns derived from considering six distinct datasets as a single, unified sample. APUS and the participating institutions will pool more than 400,000 de-identified post-secondary student records to assess factors impacting retention and learning outcomes for online US college students, particularly those aged 26 and under. Dr. Ice will oversee technical and analytical strategy, along with continuation planning, for the pilot program.

PAR incorporates many of the best practices and award-winning predictive analytical methods for which Dr. Ice has been recognized by the Sloan Consortium, and the practices for which WCET has recognized Dr. Vernon Smith of Rio Salado College. APUS's predictive analytics platform will serve as a foundation for constructing the project's pooled data analysis methodology.

"This project breaks new ground in bringing together a cross section of institutions committed to working transparently with one another and sharing the results of their work openly within the education community," said Ice. "We seek to collectively identify actionable patterns around what unique environmental factors influence student retention and learning outcomes and use those results to help inform and improve decision-making."

WCET has assembled a collaborative team of innovative institutions representing a cross-section of community colleges, state and proprietary institutions who are already exploring or implementing analytics or predictive analytics projects on their own student data. In addition to APUS, the participating institutions include Colorado Community College System, Rio Salado College, University of Hawaii System, University of Illinois - Springfield and University of Phoenix.

"By identifying patterns of performance, we believe we can create an approach to applying predictive analytics in practice that will help practitioners and students alike spot barriers to success before they become problems," Ice added. "We can also focus attention on identifying variables that predictably and reliably improve student achievement, particularly in traditionally underserved populations, and ultimately help improve persistence, progress and completion rates among post-secondary students in the US."

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,

About American Public University System

American Public University System, winner of the Sloan Consortium's 2009 Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and two-time recipient of Sloan's Effective Practices Award, offers 79 online degree programs through American Public University and American Military University. APUS's relevant curriculum, affordability and flexibility help more than 90,000 working adults worldwide pursue degrees in subjects ranging from homeland security to management and liberal arts. For further information, visit

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SOURCE: American Public University System (APUS)

American Public University System (APUS)
Brian Muys, 703-334-3225
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