Faculty Advisor

Wilkes, John M.


This project involved an exploration of how data mining could be a useful tool to an educational institution. The WPI Class of 2002 data set was used as an illustration. In addition to normal grades, high school background and student organization membership data available on any campus was also used. The Class of 2002 database included results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Cooperative Institutional Research Program survey (CIRP) and the Gordon Cognitive Style Indicator (GCSI). The CIRP survey is another widely available body of information, as about 1,000 colleges and universities participate in that ongoing study, (WPI for more than 20 years). The MBTI is also widely used at colleges and universities, (although the data are rarely archived and used effectively). Only the GCSI was unique to the WPI database. Data mining is a way to explore large databases and reveal patterns that would not be evident in the usual fragmented and partial special purpose databases most institutions maintain. Our goal was to answer questions through statistical analysis of the database which are pertinent to the goals of the WPI community, policy relevant, but which could also be applied at other institutions if such a project were conducted elsewhere in the future.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2001

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Social Science and Policy Studies