KDnuggets : News : 2006 : n19 : item29 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


Louisiana School District Uses Data Mining To Analyze Troublemakers

A year's worth of disciplinary reports are scoured for patterns in behavior and punishment.

By Rick Whiting, InformationWeek, Sep 25, 2006

In Lafourche Parish, La., middle schools supervisor Chris Bowman wants to understand how students get into trouble and what happens when they do. Bowman had a brainstorm: He took the 33,000 disciplinary reports filed last year by teachers and administrators and ran them through the school district's data mining system.

It occurred to Bowman that analyzing the reports could provide insight into the root causes of disciplinary problems--tardiness, dress code violations, fighting, vandalism, and more--as well as the effectiveness of how the schools deal with them, and how fairly discipline is enforced. The reports generally contain structured data, including demographic information such as the student's grade and age, and a written narrative that describes the infraction.


That experience gave Bowman the idea of applying the same technology to analyze the discipline reports. Bowman is using text analysis to search for and categorize key words and see if patterns emerge. A search for the word "uniform," for example, might show if teachers or schools are being overly strict in enforcing dress codes, while a search on "tardy" could identify habitually late students. Bowman can search the records of a student, school, or the entire district.

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KDnuggets : News : 2006 : n19 : item29 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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