Using Data Mining Techniques to Predict Student Performance to Support Decision Making in University Admission Systems

An admissions system based on valid and reliable admissions criteria is very important to select candidates likely to perform well academically at institutions of higher education. This study focuses on ways to support universities in admissions decision making using data mining techniques to predict applicants’ academic performance at university. A data set of 2,039 students enrolled in a Computer Science and Information College of a Saudi public university from 2016 to 2019 was used to validate the proposed methodology. The results demonstrate that applicants’ early university performance can be predicted before admission based on certain pre-admission criteria (high school grade average, Scholastic Achievement Admission Test score, and General Aptitude Test score). The results also show that Scholastic Achievement Admission Test score is the pre-admission criterion that most accurately predicts future student performance. Therefore, this score should be assigned more weight in admissions systems. We also found that the Artificial Neural Network technique has an accuracy rate above 79%, making it superior to other classification techniques considered (Decision Trees, Support Vector Machines, and Naïve Bayes).

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