Blended Learning High School Turns to Big Data to Boost Graduation

SiSense, today announced that GOAL Academy, Colorado’s second largest blended learning high school, is using big data and analytics to ensure that more of its students graduate.

With over 3200 students, across seven regions and 24 education sites, GOAL Academy caters to a wide variety of students whose profile doesn’t fit the typical high school student profile, but who still want to complete their high school education.

“Since we are a blended institution, we have a tsunami of data coming in every day,” said Daniel Colussi, GOAL Academy’s Director of Innovation. "Our big hope was to find a tool that was web-based and capable of processing data coming in from different sources. We found that tool in SiSense. We knew that if we succeeded, we could get more students to stay in class and graduate.”

GOAL Academy instituted key performance indicator (KPI) metrics that link the organization’s vision with individual action. The school aligned its KPIs with the new state of Colorado evaluation standards.

“Across the organization, these KPIs enable us to identify and focus on the areas that matter,” said Colussi. “We had been trying to do this with spreadsheets, but we never knew if people were looking at the most recent data and it didn’t lend itself to putting the information out into a web environment.”

Gone are the spreadsheets, replaced by SiSense BI software that allows non-technical business users to join, analyze, and visualize data sets from multiple data sources. Customized SiSense dashboards are embedded into the student information system, allowing students and staff to see their own data when they log onto the system.

“SiSense’s Elasticube technology is key because it lets me create mashups,” Colussi said. “I can take a table out of a SQL database, bring in a table from a Google spreadsheet or grab data from an Excel document. It doesn’t matter where the data resides.”

Using SiSense, Colussi creates dashboards that show academic achievement and display the students affecting KPI percentages. This allows staff to identify the students who need more academic help.

“With SiSense, one person can run everything,” Colussi said. “I can sit in a meeting and change data on the fly, publish it and show the results in just a few seconds.”