Predictive Identification of At-Risk Students: Using Learning Management System Data


at-risk students
early detection
LMS data
machine learning
student retention
student success

How to Cite

Osborne, J. B., & Lang, A. S. (2023). Predictive Identification of At-Risk Students: Using Learning Management System Data. Journal of Postsecondary Student Success, 2(4), 108–126.


This paper describes a neural network model that can be used to detect at-risk students failing a particular course using only grade book data from a learning management system. By analyzing data extracted from the learning management system at the end of week 5, the model can predict with an accuracy of 88% whether the student will pass or fail a specific course. Data from the grade books from all course shells from the Spring 2022 semester (N = 22,041 rows) were analyzed, and four factors were found to be significant predictors of student success/failure: the current course grade after the fifth week of the semester and the presence of missing grades in weeks 3, 4, and 5. Several models were investigated before concluding that a neural network model had the best overall utility for the purpose of an early alert system. By categorizing students who are predicted to fail more than one course as being generally at risk, we provide a metric for those who use early warning systems to target resources to the most at-risk students and intervene before students drop out. Seventy-four percent of the students whom our model classified as being generally at risk ended up failing at least one course.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 J. Bryan Osborne, Andrew S.I.D. Lang


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