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Arizona-based company’s AI software predicts student performance

(AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

PHOENIX — A new Arizona-based company has developed artificial intelligence software to predict how a student will perform academically, helping teachers intervene before it’s too late.

The Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix is the first to try this software from Gnosis IQ.

“We built it so that it’s smart enough to interface directly with the data sets that teachers already enter their data into,” Ben Smith, the company’s founder and CEO, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The data is then run through an artificial intelligence processing system to come up with the student performance predictions, which can be viewed through a dashboard that is created for each student.

The dashboard shows if a student is in a successful, expected, warning or alert-type state. It also shows the course that they’re going to struggle in and the timeline. This allows parents, teachers and administrators to intervene and help students who will struggle.

“Right now, we’re showing predictions for one day out,” Smith said. “As soon as people get more comfortable with it, we’ll show about a week out.”

Smith, a former member of the Mesa Public Schools governing board, added that the goal is to eventually be able to predict student performance up to three months out.

Students are also asked to self-report on their social and emotional health using Gnosis IQ.

“If a student reports an emotional cue that we feel is at risk, for example, they’re depressed, we’ve got it set so that the teacher, the counselor, the principal and even the superintendent can be immediately notified,” Smith said.

Former Mesa High School teacher Ashley Zimmerman said seeing that Gnosis IQ can track a student’s emotional status “made me tear up because a few years ago I lost a student to suicide.”

“If I would have had this tool, our team might have seen the signs earlier and been able to get that student the appropriate help,” Zimmerman said. “It might have saved her life.”

For now, the Isaac Elementary School District is the only school district using Gnosis IQ’s software to predict student performance. Smith said he hopes to expand it to other school districts in Arizona.

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