Using Common Academic Indicators to Predict Graduation Rates at CSUN, 2005-2014

  • Jorge Martinez California State University, Northridge
  • Andrew Miller University of California San Diego
  • Richard Wolff Columbia University
  • Bruce Shapiro California State University, Northridge
  • Carol Shubin California State University, Northridge
Keywords: logistic regression; confusion matrix; ROC curve; data visualization; optimal unit load


The median time to graduation at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is five years and fewer than fifty percent of first time freshmen graduate in less than eight years. We used data mining and predictive analytics to determine some of the key academic indicators of success at CSUN. The most important indicators that we found were (a) which math course the student was placed in (or took first); (b) student grade point average (GPA) at the end of each of the first two terms in residence; and (c) successful completion of a freshman experience seminar course (UNIV 100). When all three are considered simultaneously, we can correctly identify over two thirds of the students who will drop out without graduating, while misidentifying approximately one-fifth of students who ultimately graduate as at-risk of not graduating.

How to Cite
Martinez, J., Miller, A., Wolff, R., Shapiro, B., & Shubin, C. (2019). Using Common Academic Indicators to Predict Graduation Rates at CSUN, 2005-2014. The PUMP Journal of Undergraduate Research, 2, 44-57. Retrieved from