Feature Selection for UK Disabled Students’ Engagement Post Higher Education: A Machine Learning Approach for a Predictive Employment Model

Drishty Sobnath, Femi Isiaq, Ikram Rehman, Tobiasz Kaduk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While only 4.2 million people out of a population of 7.9 million disabled people are working, a considerable contribution is still required from universities and industries to increase employability among the disabled, in particular, by providing adequate career guidance post higher education. This study aims to identify the potential predictive features, which will improve the chances of engaging disabled school leavers in employment about 6 months after graduation. MALSEND is an analytical platform that consists of information about UK Destinations Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey results from 2012 to 2017. The dataset of 270,934 student records with a known disability provides anonymised information about students' age range, year of study, disability type, results of the first degree, among others. Using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, characteristics of disabled candidates during and after school years were investigated to identify their engagement patterns. This article builds on constructing and selecting subsets of features useful to build a good predictor regarding the engagement of disabled students 6 months after graduation using the big data approach with machine learning principles. Features such as age, institution, disability type, among others were found to be essential predictors of the proposed employment model. A pilot was developed, which shows that the Decision Tree Classifier and Logistic Regression models provided the best results for predicting the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) of a disabled school leaver in the UK with an accuracy of 96%
Original languageEnglish
Article number159530
JournalIEEE Access
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020

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