Desire2Learn Announces a Win for Analytics in Education | Press Release | D2L
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Desire2Learn Announces a Win for Analytics in Education

Press Release

Research Data Shows that Degree Compass Helps Students Improve Their Grades and Probability of Degree Attainment

Desire2Learn, the EdTech company that created the world’s first truly integrated learning platform, today announced positive results related to several research trials of its Degree Compass™ predictive analytics technology. The trials demonstrated that students who follow Degree Compass recommendations improve their grades while also increasing their credit hours and probability of degree attainment. The trials were held at four institutions in Tennessee from August 2012 to May 2013.

Degree Compass, which was in part funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a course recommendation tool that uses predictive analytics to guide students’ course selection process. The technology bases its recommendations on each student’s historical performance, as well as graduate data from students with similar degree paths.

Improves Student Performance and Reduces the Attainment Gap

The Degree Compass research trials showed that students who selected courses based on Degree Compass recommendations have a much higher rate of success than those who picked their own courses (see Fig. 1).

The analysis clearly showed that Degree Compass recommendations help institutions close the so-called attainment gap, the observed disparity of educational performance between groups of students defined by socioeconomic status, race, gender and income. The data from the trials shows that when students from these groups use Degree Compass for course selection, the achievement gap is closed to a mere six percent.

“Desire2Learn is working with clients across multiple sectors to tackle the biggest challenges facing education and workforce learning. This is a great example of an amazing solution to a pervasive problem that has been impacting millions of learners,” said John Baker, President and CEO of Desire2Learn. “We’re thrilled with the results in Tennessee and look forward to working with global customers to achieve similar results in shrinking the attainment gap.”

Predicts Student Grades

The trials revealed that Degree Compass is able to predict student grades with high levels of accuracy. On average across all the three campus sites where Degree Compass was deployed, the grades awarded were as close as 0.85 percent.

Integral Part of the Advising Process

Degree Compass is quickly becoming an integral part of the advising process for students at the campuses where it’s been deployed. The pattern of usage by both teachers and students shows that the technology has become an embedded part of the educational process. The volume of usage of Degree Compass coincides with critical moments in a student’s path towards attaining a degree, including:

  • The start of any semester
  • During advance registration in the spring for fall classes
  • At end of the spring semester, when students see their grades and refine their plans for the fall
  • Throughout the summer until the beginning of the fall

“I am very excited about the latest data, that shows more and more clearly how students of all abilities succeed when they follow the recommendations from Degree Compass,” said Tristan Denley, creator of Degree Compass and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Tennessee Board of Regents.

For more information on Degree Compass, please visit

About Desire2Learn

Desire2Learn is helping to transform the way the world learns. Providing the next generation learning environment and solutions to engage and inspire lifelong learners, Desire2Learn helps clients break down barriers to access the highest quality learning experiences and is recognized for its leadership in accessibility. A global leader in online learning solutions, Desire2Learn provides an open and extensible platform to over 750 clients and 10 million individual learners in higher educationK-12healthcaregovernment and the corporate sector, including Fortune 1000 companies. Desire2Learn has personnel in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. For more information or to contact us, visit:

Press Contacts:

Virginia Jamieson
Head of Global Communications, D2L Ltd.
Twitter: @Desire2Learn, @D2LNews