Data to better intervene with at-risk students

When Minister Jean-François Roberge announced the digital intelligence project in education a few weeks ago, the Center de services scolaire au Cœur-des-Vallées was given as an example of already using artificial intelligence. . To find out more, we spoke with CSS Director General Daniel Bellemare.

“When students are regularly absent, we follow up afterwards. We wondered what difference it would make if we could step in before absences occur. How can we better intervene with at-risk students? », indicates Mr. Bellemare. “As a school organization, we have a lot of data about students. However, we do not have the expertise to process all this information and we too often act on a case-by-case basis. »

This observation served as the starting point for a project using artificial intelligence at the CSS in Cœur-des-Vallées. The organization called on a data analysis expert to develop an algorithmic model. This takes into account a wealth of information already present in the computer systems: school results, differences with the general average, absences, repetition (or not), number of respondents for the student, number of memos in the file and content of these memos, etc.

Better organize student services

“By crossing all this data, we are able to predict who are the students at risk in 80% of cases for students in 1D secondary. We can assume that the predictions will be more and more precise as the students progress in their secondary education,” points out Mr. Bellemare.

The data is logged by school and presented in the form of dashboards. School managements receive a summary by e-mail every Monday. Each sees information about their school as well as the average for the CSS; it can thus situate itself in relation to others. “School services can thus be better organized around students at risk. For example, the dialogue can be opened more quickly with the family. »

Of course, the recorded data does not explain everything, but they become decision-making tools. “They can draw our attention to situations or contexts that we would not have seen otherwise. »

Other uses to come

Mr. Bellemare is convinced: “Artificial intelligence helps our teams to guide their actions, to take action based on real figures”. He already sees other opportunities to further the use of AI in his organization. Among other things, secondary school dashboards will be deployed in vocational training and general adult education.

Other dashboards could be developed to provide a direct portrait of human resources (absenteeism rate, staff status, etc.). Mr. Bellemare believes in the potential: “Imagine if we could make connections between staff turnover in a school and the academic results of students. We could direct more complementary resources to this school. »

In addition: Artificial intelligence as a management and decision-making tool for the education network

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Data to better intervene with at-risk students


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