Last Friday's edition of The Globe and Mail newspaper included a story on how predictive analytics might help decrease university drop-out rates. Several Data Science companies, including IBM’s Watson Analytics and Microsoft, are offering universities their expertise on identifying students at risk of dropping out. Of course, having low marks is a good predictor, but it is not the only one. Women, for example, are less likely than men to leave university before finishing their studies, but when they do, their marks are usually quite good. So why are they dropping out? The University of British Colombia is one university that has initiated a pilot porgram whose aim is find the answers to such questions. They are looking at a wealth of historical data, including involvement in extra-curricular activities and post-graduation employment, to find meaningful patterns. This is very much a work in progress, and a long-term project. You can read more about the issue, including the high cost of not finding a solution, in the Globe's full article.