A great article in Slate from Christopher Beam highlights a CompStat program in Los Angeles which will begin to use predictive statistics alongside traditional CompStat figures.  CompStat traditionally tracks a slate of common crime stats for each precinct commander every two weeks to help focus that commander on the results of their tactics over that period.  This data normally includes statistics on crime incidents like robberies, assaults, and homicides as well as crime related measures like complaints and arrests.  The idea is to diagnose why crime seems to have happened and to deploy police resources to mitigate those factors.

But as the article points out, the process looks backwards.  In Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, statisticians have crunched the numbers to learn that certain events predict the occurrence of crime with some regularity.  A home robbery ups the odds that a repeat robbery will happen in the area.  A gang shooting increases the odds of reprisal.  And as research continues, the LA Police are bound to find other predictors that Precinct Commanders can use to strategically deploy their forces and keep their communities safer.

Who knew Policing would take some cues from Education after all these years of CompStat inspiring SchoolStat? Since 2007, we’ve seen similar predictive work with the use of early warning indicators to predict the risk of student’s dropping out of high school.  Based on research from the Chicago Consortium of School Research, a high school student’s course performance is the single most predictive factor in whether a student will complete high school.  Specifically, CCSR concluded that Chicago students who finish ninth grade with at least ten semester credits or five full-year course credits and have no more than one semester F in a core course are nearly four times more likely to graduate than those who do not.  CCSR used this finding to create an On-Track to Graduate Indicator for current students who complete ninth grade with five credits in core courses and no more than one semester F.  Principals use this data to deploy counseling resources .

Rhode Island has an early warning indicator planned statewide for its Race to the Top program to address dropouts as well, and will prove a great addition to the EdStat process driving their RTT reforms.  Where else can you see predictive indicators taking hold?