YSU charters new Starfish student success software

logo-starfish-master-RGBYoungstown State University is among four universities nationwide that are chartering a new software package called Starfish INSIGHT designed to help better understand and increase student success.

The software from Starfish Retention Solutions Inc. enables YSU and other institutions to quickly and easily visualize the correlations between their efforts to help students succeed and the related student outcomes.

“This new software will provide us the data that we need to determine what we do well and what more we can do to improve our programs to ensure the success of our students,” said Jonelle Beatrice, YSU executive director of Student Life.

YSU began using Starfish Retention Solutions Early Warning software in 2011. The program allows faculty to flag students who are falling behind academically and to route those concerns to the students’ peer mentors and student support staff in the YSU Center for Student Progress. Since the adoption of Starfish Early Warning, the university has realized higher freshman cumulative grade point averages, an increase in freshman hours earned, as well as higher course completion rates for all undergraduate students.

Starfish INSIGHT provides customizable reports and dashboards in academic affairs and student affairs and to other managers who need to know how instruction and student support efforts are affecting student outcomes. Users are able to view summary and detail information about student participation in any student success program or innovation; learn what students are doing in those offerings, and when and how frequently they are doing it; and understand which programs have the biggest and least impact on student outcomes. Data can then be aggregated or sliced across dimensions that include demographics, academic preparedness, grit, institutional engagement, academic status, financial status, and use of technology.

In addition to YSU, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, The New School, and ECPI University are have adopted the new software.

“Analytics programs have been a recent hot topic across higher education, yet there is considerable confusion about what analytics means and what the purpose should be. Institutions need help interpreting their existing data so they can make smarter choices,” said Linda Baer, principal consultant at i4Solutions and former senior program officer focused on Postsecondary Success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Starfish INSIGHT promises to answer questions that higher education institutions have been grappling with for a long time about their student success programs.”

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