URTURN LLC receives NSF Small Business Innovation Research award for "SBIR Phase I: Mapping a Pathway to College Using Predictive Analytic Modeling and Decision Support".
The SBIR Phase I project supports R & D to develop a goal-setting and planning software tool for students from 5th to 12th grade and their families, not unlike current tools for financial planning or trip planning. Students and families will benefit from the power of prediction-based goal setting as well as an early warning system that indicates when students are off track of their education goal, and evidence-based program suggestions to get students back on track of their goal. Navigating the education system in the U.S. is complex, even more so for first-generation college seekers and new immigrant students and families. Between 9th grade and the first year of college, 50% of America's students fall off the path toward higher education even as research shows that students cannot make a living wage without a post-secondary diploma. With notoriously poor counselor-to-students ratio of 471:1, and with the uneven distribution of access to supports (such as private counseling services for those who can afford it), technology such as this may very well serve as a leveling instrument in U.S. schools. SBIR support provides the opportunity for technology transfer of research to inform education planning and goal-setting based purely on data analytics and best practices.