Aug 28 2017

Machine Learning and Data Reshape Guidance Counseling

Schools can give better advice to students with technology.

At the K–12 level, guidance counselors have a lot to balance in terms of student success, from well-being to course credits. Tools that deploy artificial intelligence and data analytics can help empower them to serve their students better.

“Much like students themselves, school counselors are finding a new identity and taking on more responsibilities,” writes Nickey Pietila on Advancing K12 EdTech. “Today, school counselors work in social-emotional, academic, and college and career realms, and they embrace data as a way to increase student success in all areas.”

More Intelligent Content Filtering Boosts Protection

Software company GoGuardian had student success in mind when it developed its machine learning–powered content filtering tool, Admin 2.0. In addition to filtering content more efficiently by learning what is and isn’t appropriate, the tool can also help protect students who might be considering self-harm.

Schools can set up automatic alerts so that a counselor will be contacted immediately if a student’s online behavior indicates he or she might be in danger. Tyler Shaddix, GoGuardian’s head of innovation, tells EdTech that counselors at one school were able to intervene in 61 incidents by using Admin 2.0.

“GoGuardian’s entire mission is about making sure each student’s potential is fully realized,” he says. “Obviously, if they hurt themselves, that potential isn’t going to even be close to being realized.”

With 43 percent of teens indicating that they were a victim of cyberbullying in the past year, Shaddix says that Admin 2.0 could become a valuable tool to help detect this online bullying.

The School Counselor Life blog recommends that guidance counselors step up to make sure that schools are teaching their students proper digital citizenship and incorporating language about cyberbullying into their school’s code of conduct.

Data Fuels Better Student Achievement

In higher education, data analytics has helped to further student success and refine the advising process. At the K–12 level, harnessing data has helped schools increase attendance and graduation rates.

It is largely recommended that school counselors spend about 80 percent of their time helping students, leaving 20 percent for everything else, writes Pietila. This means the tools and data analyses must be accessible and easy to use.

One way that schools can assist their counselors with data is through partnerships with nonprofits and city organizations.

At DC Public Schools, a data-driven partnership has allowed the district’s college counselors to offer better advice to their students, Education Dive reports. By tracking how graduates are doing in college, counselors can help current students cultivate the skills they will need to succeed.

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