Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

Tracking ID To Detect Who Might Drop Out

The University of Arizona is tracking freshman students’ ID card swipes to anticipate which students are more likely to drop out. University researchers hope to use the data to lower dropout rates. Since every students has an ID with an embedded sensor, it is easy to track. The card data tells researchers how frequently a student has entered any building on campus/ buys anything.

With the data, the university creates lists every quarter of freshman students most likely to drop out and shares it with its staff. The hope is that the university will pinpoint which students need more support from advisers to stay on.

The University of Arizona’s retention rates in 2017 rose to 86.5 percent for residents and almost 89 percent for international students.

Still, algorithms can sometimes be wrong and biased.

It could be argued that this level of analyzing students’ social interaction data, which includes timestamps and locations, potentially violates students’ privacy. Is it necessary for schools to track student drop out rates to offer support? Do you think all schools should do this?


2 Responses to Tracking ID To Detect Who Might Drop Out

  • It can be argued that they are utilizing the already being gathered information in a new way, but I don’t think it is intrusive as it is just analyzing data they are already recording on the students just now trying to make use of it. Any time you wish to use your student ID you are giving up that information by scanning the card regardless, so the school creating any algorithms or data related findings such as GPA in relation to visits to maxis per week ratio could be helpful. I don’t think it would be necessary for schools to do this, but it would definitely benefit some students and show a potential caring side for the university in relation to retaining students. I don’t think all schools should do this, but it could be very beneficial to do so.

  • Universities using this type of data is not intrusive to the students privacy. Most courses take attendance on canvas or some kind of sign in code. It would be extremely beneficial for advisors to reach out to these students and offer them any kind of guidance. Some of the students who are not attending classes have either personal or medical issues and these could be corrected. Since Arizona University has already implemented this technology, other colleges will soon copy it. Incoming students may look at the school’s retention rate to decide which college to attend so I believe that all schools will utilize this capability in order to attract more students.

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