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Retention Software Makes It Easier for Students to Request Help

The newest release of Starfish’s student retention software, its fifth version, features a streamlined interface as well as new ways for acting on data, online help for students, and options for making it easier to communicate with groups of students.

Called Starfish 5, the software is the latest iteration of the company’s Enterprise Success Platform, which is used by institutions to retain students by tracking their progress and moving them toward graduation. It is a response to institutions that are frequently collecting data but which may lack the infrastructure to improve student outcomes based on this information.

Specific updates include the ability to group students into cohorts, who can be tracked together and communicated with all at once. (New templates for communicating with these cohorts are also being made available). Student advisors can also use tools within the program to notify instructors or other colleagues when actions for specific students should be taken.

Through the use of a new dashboard, students can directly request assistance and reach staff across various departments. "At Seattle, our approach to advising is student-centric," said Josh Krawczyk, director of university retention initiatives at Seattle University in a statement. "The 'Raise Your Hand' feature in Starfish 5 lets our students reach out for help on their own timeline, which is often before anyone else—or any technology system—tells us there is a problem."

Institutions can also build a special algorithm to create an individual success score for each student, based on customized factors, to spot at-risk students or to reward those that excel. Integrations with major LMS systems have also been improved, allowing advisors and staff to identify students’ specific academic challenges based on their class performance.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.

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