Hamilton County Department of Education

Smarter Planet Leadership Series: Deeper student insights leave a deep impact

Published on 27 Sep 2011

Keeping our kids on track academically is an ongoing challenge. We’ve seen a significant payoff from the path we’ve taken, and our aim is to push it even further.

Dr. Kirk Kelly, Hamilton County Department of Education, Director of Accountability and Testing

Hamilton County Department of Education


Deployment country
United States


The signs are clear that Hamilton County’s efforts to improve student performance and reduce the dropout rate are paying off. But to Dr. Kirk Kelly, who has driven the county’s “educational intelligence” initiatives from the beginning, the best is yet to come—and he’s working diligently to get that message out to teachers, students and the community.

Business need
For Hamilton County, the essence of educational intelligence is insight through granularity. By leveraging analytics & advanced modeling tools, teachers, counselors & administrators have a better understanding of how adverse patterns develop & can now step in earlier to keep students on the right track. That’s one reason the county’s graduation rate increased by 8% last year. The fact that Hamilton County is extending the use of intelligence & predictive analytics to adapt the curriculum & create performance-based incentives for teachers lays the groundwork for more good news in the future.

Leadership is: Taking the message of educational intelligence to the grassroots level Dr. Kirk Kelly recognized that for the culture and practices of educational intelligence to take hold at the grassroots level, strong transitional support was required from the top. To achieve this, Kelly and his team conducted nearly 100 on-site meetings per year with school-level leadership teams to evangelize the value of proactively working to improve student performance.

- For Hamilton County, an 8% increase in the graduation rate through the ability of teachers, counselors and staff to intervene with at-risk students before they drop out; - For the Howard School of Academics and Technology, a 200% increase in the graduation rate over the last six years, capped off by a nearly 10 percent increase in the last year; - Increase in test scores due to curriculum and teaching changes enabled by the solution’s metrics; - Ability to deploy teacher performance incentive programs


IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

SPSS Data Collection Desktop, SPSS Modeler, SPSS Statistics Base, SPSS Text Analytics for Surveys

Educ: Effective and Efficient Administration, IBM Analytics, BA - Business Analytics, Business Performance Transformation, Enabling Business Flexibility, Enterprise Modernization, BA - Predictive Analytics,

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