Project Concept

STENCIL is software that helps educators manage student data & identify which students are at drop-out risk, allowing early intervention.

There is enormous potential in the data collected about students in primary and secondary education. As electronic records of attendance, grades, and behavior become available, there is potential in making such data accessible not only to teachers but also to administrators, parents, and students themselves. In addition, with algorithmic analysis, there is unprecedented potential within the data to determine vital warning signs, such as which students are at risk of dropping out of school.

Unsuccessful attempts to address the problem of data management have been made. Between 2004 and 2008 alone, the development and use of antiquated software that was supposed to address the need for electronic storage of student records cost the state of North Carolina over $247 million. Yet this software, despite its enormous cost, serves as little more than a repository for information, with limited functionality and the need for continuous and expensive maintenance. Parents and students are still disconnected from their information as they were before, and the educational system is hemorrhaging money.

According to a recent report published by the National Center for Education Statistics, high school attrition is at 25%. That is, for every four students who begin high school, one will not make it to graduation. Those who do not finish high school are at risk for a number of problems in their adult life: unemployment, lack of health care, poverty, and the need for public assistance among them. Not only is this an unfortunate outcome, it is also extremely expensive. In fact, high school dropouts have cost North Carolina $11 billion in wages, taxes, and productivity over their lifetimes. The early warning signs of attrition are recognizable, but current approaches lack the capability to perform the kind of analysis required to identify them.

It is precisely these problems of data management and student attrition that STENCIL aims to solve. STENCIL, which stands for Students and Teachers Employing New Criteria In Learning, is cloud-based software that stores student attendance, behavior, and course performance in a format accessible via an online interface in a way which will allow teachers and administrators to easily access and manage student data.

Not only would STENCIL allow for increased accessibility and centralization of data, it additionally employs an algorithm that provides early warning of students showing warning signs of dropping out of high school. Were a student detected to be at risk, an automated alert would be sent to the student’s parents, administrators, and teachers. By providing a valuable early-warning system, early intervention would be possible, and student retention as well as graduation rates could be improved. With the application of simple principles in design and accessibility, as well as a well-organized approach to data storage, a significant, positive impact can be made in the lives of teachers, students, and parents nationwide.