The Community College of Rhode Island and Gwinnett County Public Schools Help Improve Student Performance with IBM Smarter Education Solution

ConnectEDU Software Adds New Capabilities to Integrate All Levels of Student Information

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ARMONK, N.Y. - 26 Oct 2012: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced Smarter Education projects with the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and Gwinnett County Public Schools to apply predictive analytics and Web-based software technologies to help improve student performance and achievement.

All schools, from K-12 to colleges and universities, are under increased pressure to ensure that students not only graduate, but possess the workforce skills to succeed in a globally competitive world. Both CCRI and Gwinnett County are digitally transforming their learning environments to help improve student achievement.

Now in its 48th year, CCRI is the largest community college in New England, offering nearly 90 degree and certificate programs to its approximately 18,000 students. ConnectEDU is working with CCRI on their Connect to College (C2C) project, designed to centralize critical student services and offer a unique way for students to manage their academic life. By adding IBM’s predictive analytics software, they gain the ability to see data patterns to determine where intervention might be needed.

With the combined solution, CCRI will be able to both capture and convey student data, gaining real-time perspective into how a student or school is doing and where intervention is needed. They will have the tools to determine which students are at risk of not completing the steps to achieve their intended goals and implement the interventions to get them back on track.

“The power of the ConnectEDU and IBM partnership brings learner-level data into an actionable format for our counselors and advisors to truly impact student success, in real-time,” said Ray DiPasquale, president of CCRI. “This platform is a scalable solution for our C2C team, using technology to identify at-risk students before they’re truly at-risk.”

Through the C2C web portal, students will be able to access content and learning modules for skills ranging from time management and career planning. They will receive reminders for upcoming deadlines and gain access to a network of mentors, among other offerings. IBM’s SPSS predictive modeling and analytics software, when applied to this data, will help advisors make the best recommendations to students as they plan and navigate their academic life.

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), located in the metro Atlanta area, is the largest school system in Georgia. Gwinnett County Public Schools first began working with IBM to collect and integrate data, analyze that data and report student results from kindergarten through 12th grade. Now with the launch of eCLASS, a new digital curriculum and instruction initiative, they are using an integrated solution of Cognos and SPSS tools to help guide their interactions with students to improve early intervention and assist overall student achievement.

“Ten years ago we didn’t realize how we could harness the power from that foundation to get ‘smarter’ about using analytics to provide better insight to student needs,” said Scott Futrell, Chief Information Officer, Gwinnett County Public Schools. “Today, we use all of the key components of the IBM Smarter Education strategy. Together with Gwinnett’s existing student applications and learning management solution, we are positioned to use analytics to quickly recognize students who need help, identify potential interventions, and ultimately track student success over time.”

Today’s announcement demonstrates the capabilities of the IBM Smarter Education Solution, which pairs IBM’s deep analytics with student interface software, such as the solution offered by ConnectEDU. Together, these offerings are designed to use data to get closer to schools and solve problems, such as:

·        Integrating data from multiple sources to provide students and administrators with insights as students progress both in the classroom and toward their life goals

·        Establishing and coordinating early-warning systems for at-risk students using predictive analytics to identify those in need of intervention and support

·        Building collaborative learning communities with teachers, students, parents, and specialists to work together to identify and implement instructional intervention plans to improve student performance

·        Utilizing data aggregation and analytics capabilities to identify intervention and program efficacy

IBM is also delivering their Smarter Education reference architecture, first announced in April, which provides educational institutions with a blueprint for implementation, which is built on open, industry standards to enable a multi-provider, interoperable environment. It is this framework that allows for easy integration with IBM business partners like ConnectEDU.

“In collaboration with partners like IBM, we produce recommendations for students that are grounded in real-time, actionable data,” said Craig Powell, ConnectEDU CEO. “Through our proprietary learner-level data capabilities, we are dedicated to ensuring that each learner’s education, career and financial decisions are data driven and aligned to ensuring them a future of possibilities.” 

 “When you put smart tools in the hands of students and teachers, there are almost no limits to the types of data which can be captured and the ways in which it can be used,” said Michael D. King, Vice President, IBM Global Education. “By applying advanced analytics technology to the cause of improving education at CCRI, we hope to help make a difference in the lives and careers of its students, not just in college, but as members of a developing workforce that is so vital to our economic prosperity.”

About ConnectEDU

ConnectEDU is a technology company, founded and grounded in education, committed to transitioning 21st Century Learners on their pathways from school to college to career, helping them realize their potential, achieve a secure financial future, and ultimately connect to life's possibilities. ConnectEDU was created in 2002, by Craig Powell, an entrepreneur with a passion for ensuring that all students have access to the expertise needed to maximize their educational potential. Today, ConnectEDU is the world's largest education network, with nearly 20 million registered learners, over 4,000 educational institutions, and 130,000 employers.

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