This paper introduces a systematic approach for the design of a fuzzy inference system based on a class of neural networks to assess the students' academic performance. Fuzzy systems have reached a recognized success in several applications to solve diverse class of problems. Currently, there is an increasing trend to expand them with learning and adaptation capabilities through combinations with other techniques. Fuzzy systems-neural networks and fuzzy systems-genetic algorithms are the most successful applications of soft computing techniques with hybrid characteristics and learning capabilities. The developed method uses a fuzzy system augmented by neural networks to enhance some of its characteristics like flexibility, speed, and adaptability, which is called the adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). New trends in soft computing techniques, their applications, model development of fuzzy systems, integration, hybridization and adaptation are also introduced. The parameters set to facilitate the hybrid learning rules for the constitution of the Sugeno-type ANFIS architecture is then elaborated. The method can produce crisp numerical outcomes to predict the student's academic performance (SAP). It also provides an alternative solution to deal with imprecise data. The results of the ANFIS model are as robust as those of the statistical methods, yet they encourage a more natural way to interpret the student's outcomes. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.