Maximizing Human Potential

“There is a problem in education. Assessments don’t align with real-world outcomes and most data about the learning process is underutilized.”

The Socos Solution

There exists today an enormous amount of data on how students are actually learning, and workers are performing. Simultaneously, while there is an increasing awareness of the importance of “21st Century Skills” there is little done to reinforce these traits. Socos’ solution is to take naturalistic data as the basis for our assessments. We close the educational loop by providing relevant feedback to educators on what they can do to improve life outcomes. Socos is developing and implementing technologies that allow the learning experience to become the core of education by integrating assessment, feedback, and lifelong outcomes into one unified experience.

The implementations of these solutions require the combination of human capital and technology. Socos is using timely feedback as a catalyst of internal processes of students that are rich resources, akin to social psychologists using interventions to just bring about a small change in a students' perspective. This triggers very different self-perceptions and actions, enabling the student to engage in a positive feedback loop with the environment.

The solution proposed by Socos is to take naturalistic student experiences and perform predictive assessment on lifelong outcome. In the case studies previously described, lifelong outcomes of test subjects were changes by slight alterations to their environment. Children denied crayons immediately ate their first marshmallow and parents given weekly interventions in Jamaica raised children indistinguishable from less socioeconomically limited families. Minor real-world interventions have a major impact.


Marshmallow

In the often-cited Marshmallow Study, where children are given the choice between one marshmallow now and two later, it has been clearly demonstrated that early-life self-restraint is predictive of life-long measures of success. Another aspect to this study was conducted in which children, prior to being given their first marshmallow, were promised crayons or similar enticement, by an adult who did not deliver on their promise. In each case of this reneging on a promise, children in the study ate their first marshmallow right way. Children were literally trained in a few minutes of the study to take what was available now because they could not rely on a future promise.

Jamaica Study

Another example of feedback creating lasting outcomes occurred during an intervention in Kingston, Jamaica. Severely underprivileged toddlers were identified in a government program. For three years, social workers went to the homes of those kids once a month and intervened not with the children but with their parents. They talked to parents about nutrition and social motivational energy skills. Twenty years later, those kids now adults, are actually studied by a group of economists; UC Berkeley and University of Chicago. What they find is that they earn 25% more in that atmosphere is that it’s not just the intervention. It’s that last time infatuated, they are generally, economically; in other words, they were able to effectively erase the fact that they were from this severely autonomous population.

Miller, Chen SES Health Study

Similar findings of low-grade interventions having substantial impact were found in addressing health problems of Children from families of low socioeconomic status. Eight years after intervention youth who participated had significantly less symptoms underlying low-grade health problems than controls.






"Dr. Vivien Ming at SXSWEDU 2014"

Keeping the Promise of Educational

Services

One of the most fundamental challenges in teaching is peering inside students' heads and figuring out what they're thinking. While education is a field rich with data, obtaining high-quality data and processing them meaningfully and efficiently remains difficult. Whether in formal classes, individualized tutoring, or casual web queries, learners continually generate questions, comments, proposals, discussions and a multitude of other assessable work.

These constitute valuable assessment data for informing instructors’ professional judgment, but systematically analyzing them across multiple students and time-points demands attention and resources beyond what most teachers can spare. The quantity of possible data to track defies ambition. The vast majority is lost to any broader perspective for instructors, educational leaders, and decision-makers. Lessons go untried, assessments unvalidated, population trends undetected and teaching opportunities missed. Rather than constantly designing and administering new tests, education needs tools which can actually make intelligent use of existing data.


Kindersight

Assessing the linguistic environment of kindergarteners

Interest in improving early childhood learning across school and home settings is colliding with movements to increase standardized testing at ever younger ages. While testing proponents are rightfully concerned about measuring children’s learning, their design and use carry many problems. Tests are valid only for the population and purpose for which they were designed; eliminating cultural bias from tests is extremely difficult; and tests are often designed as sequestered experiences stripped from authentic contexts.

Read More
 


College Learners

College for America at Southern New Hampshire University

We are in the early stages of a project with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, which Wired Magazine named the 16th most innovative organization in the world, and the number one most innovative educational organization. We are working with Southern New Hampshire University to implement new approaches to direct assessment in their competency-based learning paradigm. This continues to build on our interest in continuous passive assessment, an innovative method for real-time assessment.

Read More
 


Online Student

Online Student Discussion Predictive of Grades

Socos has conducted and published research based on online class discussion data at one of the world’s largest universities. Socos partnered with this university and subsequently published multiple journal articles describing how grades in a course could be successfully predicted. In academic studies, Socos has successfully predicted final grades by analyzing unstructured student text in online discussion forums, which also yielded preliminary topic maps that can be used in student thinking (Ming & Ming, 2012).

Read More
Human Capital

In the often-cited Marshmallow Study, where children are given the choice between one marshmallow now and two later, it has been clearly demonstrated that early-life self-restraint is predictive of life-long measures of success. Another aspect to this study was conducted in which children, prior to being given their first marshmallow, were promised crayons or similar enticement, by an adult who did not deliver on their promise. In each case of this reneging on a promise, children in the study ate their first marshmallow right way. Children were literally trained in a few minutes of the study to take what was available now because they could not rely on a future promise.

Read More
Natualitic Technology Interventions

Similar findings of low-grade interventions having substantial impact were found in addressing health problems of Children from families of low socioeconomic status. Eight years after intervention youth who participated had significantly less symptoms underlying low-grade health problems than controls. (Miller, Chen, and colleagues)

Read More
Focus on 21st Century Skills

Another example of feedback creating lasting outcomes occurred during an intervention in Kingston, Jamaica. Severely underprivileged toddlers were identified in a government program. For three years, social workers went to the homes of those kids once a month and intervened not with the children but with their parents. They talked to parents about nutrition and social motivational energy skills. Twenty years later, those kids now adults, are actually studied by a group of economists; UC Berkeley and University of Chicago. What they find is that they earn 25% more in that atmosphere is that it’s not just the intervention. It’s that last time infatuated, they are generally, economically; indistinguishable for the last they thought. In other words, they were able to effectively erase the fact that they were from this severely autonomous population.

Read More
  • Human Capital

    In the often-cited Marshmallow Study, where children are given the choice between one marshmallow now and two later, it has been clearly demonstrated that early-life self-restraint is predictive of life-long measures of success. Another aspect to this study was conducted in which children, prior to being given their first marshmallow, were promised crayons or similar enticement, by an adult who did not deliver on their promise. In each case of this reneging on a promise, children in the study ate their first marshmallow right way. Children were literally trained in a few minutes of the study to take what was available now because they could not rely on a future promise.

    Read More
  • Natualitic Technology Interventions

    Similar findings of low-grade interventions having substantial impact were found in addressing health problems of Children from families of low socioeconomic status. Eight years after intervention youth who participated had significantly less symptoms underlying low-grade health problems than controls. (Miller, Chen, and colleagues)

    Read More
  • Focus on 21st Century Skills

    Another example of feedback creating lasting outcomes occurred during an intervention in Kingston, Jamaica. Severely underprivileged toddlers were identified in a government program. For three years, social workers went to the homes of those kids once a month and intervened not with the children but with their parents. They talked to parents about nutrition and social motivational energy skills. Twenty years later, those kids now adults, are actually studied by a group of economists; UC Berkeley and University of Chicago. What they find is that they earn 25% more in that atmosphere is that it’s not just the intervention. It’s that last time infatuated, they are generally, economically; indistinguishable for the last they thought. In other words, they were able to effectively erase the fact that they were from this severely autonomous population.

    Read More
 

Want to learn more about Socos?

Research

Over the last 5 years, Socos has researched and developed technology capable of predicting outcomes based on naturalistic data, and is now specifically focused on turning commonplace learning experiences directly into assessments aligned with life outcomes through a combination of non-invasive technological interventions and human capital guidance.





Research Guide

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    Binkley, M., Erstad, O., Herman, J., Raizen, S., Ripley, M., Miller-Ricci, M., & Rumble, M.

    (2012)

    Defining twenty-first century skills. In Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (pp. 17-66). Springer Netherlands.

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    Chen, E., & Miller, G. E.

    (2012)

    “Shift-and-Persist” Strategies Why Low Socioeconomic Status Isn’t Always Bad for Health. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(2), 135-158.

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    Cohen, G. L., & Sherman, D. K.

    (2014)

    The psychology of change: Self-affirmation and social psychological intervention. Annual review of psychology, 65, 333-371.

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    Ming & Ming

    (2012)

    Predicting Student Outcomes from Unstructured Data. UMAP2012.

  • circle
    Dweck, C.

    (2006)

    Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House LLC.

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    Bumbacher & Ming

    (2012)

    Pitch-sensitive components emerge from hierarchical sparse coding natural sounds. ICPRAM2012

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    Geiser, S., & Studley, W. R.

    (2002)

    UC and the SAT: Predictive validity and differential impact of the SAT I and SAT II at the University of California. Educational Assessment, 8(1), 1-26.

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    Gertler, P., Heckman, J., Pinto, R., Zanolini, A., Vermeersch, C., Walker, S., ... & Grantham-McGregor, S.

    (2014)

    Labor market returns to an early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica. Science, 344(6187), 998-1001.

  • circle
    Ming, V.L. & Holt

    (2009)

    Evidence of efficient coding in human speech perception. JASA 129, Num. 3: 1312-1321.

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    Glogger, I., Schwonke, R., Holzäpfel, L., Nückles, M., & Renkl, A.

    (2012)

    Learning strategies assessed by journal writing: Prediction of learning outcomes by quantity, quality, and combinations of learning strategies. Journal of educational psychology, 104(2), 452.

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    Grant, A. M.

    (2008)

    Does intrinsic motivation fuel the prosocial fire? Motivational synergy in predicting persistence, performance, and productivity. Journal of applied psychology, 93(1), 48.

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    Karoly, L. A., Kilburn, M. R., & Cannon, J. S.

    (2006)

    Early childhood interventions: Proven results, future promise (Vol. 341). Rand Corporation.

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    Kidd, C., Palmeri, H., & Aslin, R. N.

    (2013)

    Rational snacking: Young children’s decision-making on the marshmallow task is moderated by beliefs about environmental reliability. Cognition, 126(1), 109-114.

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    Luhmann, M., Hofmann, W., Eid, M., & Lucas, R. E.

    (2012)

    Subjective well-being and adaptation to life events: a meta-analysis. Journal of personality and social psychology, 102(3), 592.

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    Ming, N. C., & Ming, V.

    (2012 September)

    Automated predictive assessment from unstructured student writing. In DATA ANALYTICS 2012, The First International Conference on Data Analytics (pp. 57-60).

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    Mischel, W., Ayduk, O., Berman, M. G., Casey, B. J., Gotlib, I. H., Jonides, J., ... & Shoda, Y.

    (2010)

    ‘Willpower’over the life span: decomposing self-regulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

  • circle
    Pellegrino, J. W., & Hilton, M. L. (Eds.).

    (2013)

    Education for life and work: Developing transferable knowledge and skills in the 21st century. National Academies Press.

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    Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R.

    (2007)

    The power of personality: The comparative validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(4), 313-345.

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    Rothstein, J. M.

    class="italic">(2004)

    College performance predictions and the SAT. Journal of Econometrics, 121(1), 297-317.

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    Wiliam, D.

    (2011)

    What is assessment for learning?. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 37(1), 3-14.

Related Research


Areas of Interest

* Cognitive Development
* Computer-Mediated Learning
* Curriculum Development
* Educational Media
* Experimental Design In Education
* Learner-centered Education
* Mathematics Education
* Professional Development for Educators
* Science Education
* Simulation Learning Environments
* Teacher Education and Certification
* Technology and Schools

The three co-founders of Socos have combined their expertise

in Cognition, Education and Machine Learning.

About Us

Everyone at Socos has a very personal relationship with educational technology, research, and teaching. Co-founder Dr. Vivienne Ming, PhD, named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine, is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience. She sits on the boards of StartOut and Our Family Coalition and speaks on issues of LGBT inclusion and gender in technology. Previously, she was a junior fellow at Stanford’s Mind, Brain & Computation Center and earned her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon. Her work and research has received extensive media attention including the New York Times, NPR, Nature, O Magazine, Forbes, and The Atlantic.

Engin Bumbacher
Engin Bumbacher

Director of Research

Engin is devoted to the development of the company’s core cognitive modeling and predictive analytics technology. He did his master’s thesis project at the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at UC Berkeley under the supervision of Dr. Vivienne Ming, applying and further developing elaborate models of information processing to human speech and music. Engin earned his master’s degree with honors in Neural Systems and Computation from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the Institute of Neuroinformatics, both researching in the field of theoretical neuroscience and exploring models of collective intelligence through implementation of interactive flocking algorithms to control computer sound synthesis and 3D sound positioning. Prior to that, he finished his B.S. with honors in Physics at the same university.

Vivien Ming
Vivienne Ming

Executive Director

Dr. Vivienne Ming, named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine, is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She is chief scientist at Gild, an inovative startup that applies machine learning to predict optimal candidates for technology jobs, and to bring meritocracy to job markets. She joined Gild in 2012 to oversee R&D and IP development, solving problems in data mining, text analysis, cognitive modeling and algorithm development. Dr. Ming also co-founded her own cutting-edge edtech startup, Socos, with her wife, Norma. She is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience pursuing her research in neuroprosthetics. In her free time, Dr. Ming also explores augmented cognition using technology like Google Glass and has been developing a predictive model of diabetes to better manage blood glucose levels.

Robert Doe
Norma Ming

Director of Learning Design

Dr. Norma Ming earned an A.B. with honors in chemistry at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology in the Program for Interdisciplinary Educational Research at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also a learning scientist and educational technology thought leader who works at the intersection of research and development, policy, and practice.Dr. Norma Ming is co-founder and the Director of Learning Design at Socos, which applies cognitive modeling to create adaptive, personalized educational technology. Dr. Ming merges a pragmatic understanding of the teaching enterprise with a long-term, systemic vision of how research can illuminate and policy can facilitate better learning. Previously, she worked as Senior Research Scientist at the Nexus Research and Policy Center and taught as a lecturer in Education in Math, Science, and Technology at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education.

"At Socos we are developing and implementing

technology which turns learning experiences into
predictive analytics focused on developing
autodidactic learning focused on 21st century skills".


CONTACT US

Learn more about Consulting services for educational datamining Developing a Cognitive Analytics plug-in for your course or LMS Designing adaptive learning systems

Recent Talks

* Lawrence Berkeley Labs
* LinkedIn
* SXSWEdu2014 keynote
* Pearson Foundation's "Be the Source" interviews
* EdLab Groundbreakers vialogue

Current Projects

* Bridging the Word Gap (US Prez.)
* KinderSight
* College Learners
* UT Austin
* Washington University

"Socos currently has two main areas of focus. Though our project Kindersight we are focused on assessing and improving the linguistic environment of kindergarteners. In our work with several different colleges and online universities we are implementing technology to predict outcomes and providing relevant feedback that can maximize learning potential."