Data mining could be one way Kansas officials address a decline in student retention.

Data mining could be one way Kansas officials address a decline in student retention.

University of Kansas officials are considering working with a data-mining company to pinpoint strategies to keep students enrolled after a recent report showed that 28.7 percent of freshmen from the fall 2007 semester have left the campus.

Five months after University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little formed a task force that would examine ways to increase student retention and graduation rates, task force members say they might enlist the help of Virginia-based data mining company Starfish Retention Solutions, which works with 14 four-year colleges, seven two-year campuses, and two K-12 school systems.

Starfish’s retention program helps campus decision makers weed out data that identify at-risk students with consistently low grades and spotty attendance records who are not engaged in campus activities.

The system connects to a campus’s course management system—Blackboard, for instance—and raises real-time online flags for students who fall below a certain grade or involvement “threshold” designated by the university, according to the Starfish web site. Faculty members can review these alerts through the school’s Starfish education technology portal.

Read the full story on eCampus News.