Abstract: According to 2006 Programme for International Student Assess ment (PISA), sixteen Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develop ment (OECD) countries had scores that were significantly higher than the US. The top three performers were Finland, Canada, and Japan. While Finland and Japan are vastly different from the US in terms of cultures and educational systems, the US and Canada are similar to each other in many aspects, thus their performance gap was investigated. In this study data mining was employed to identify factors regarding access to and use of resources, as well as student views on science for predicting PISA science scores among Grade 10 American and Canadian students. It was found that science enjoyment and frequent use of educational software play important roles in the academic achievement of Canadian students.
Abstract: Student retention is an important issue for all university policy makers due to the potential negative impact on the image of the university and the career path of the dropouts. Although this issue has been thoroughly studied by many institutional researchers using parametric techniques, such as regression analysis and logit modeling, this article attempts to bring in a new perspective by exploring the issue with the use of three data mining techniques, namely, classification trees, multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS), and neural networks. Data mining procedures identify transferred hours, residency, and ethnicity as crucial factors to retention. Carrying transferred hours into the university implies that the students have taken college level classes somewhere else, suggesting that they are more academically prepared for university study than those who have no transferred hours. Although residency was found to be a crucial predictor to retention, one should not go too far as to interpret this finding that retention is affected by proximity to the university location. Instead, this is a typical example of Simpson’s Paradox. The geographical information system analysis indicates that non-residents from the east coast tend to be more persistent in enrollment than their west coast schoolmates.