In the UW System, a big data tool aims to keep students on track and in school

Mar 10, 2019 by

MADISON – Across the country, college students face the challenges of navigating daunting course catalogs, notoriously tough “weed-out” classes and personal circumstances that can delay or even derail their path to graduation.

The hope is that students ask for guidance: from an adviser, a counselor, a mentor. Sometimes, the issues surface too late, and the student already withdrew from the course or school altogether. Now, schools across the UW System will take a new approach: using data to predict which students are at risk of dropping out to intervene early.

Universities across the country and state have been testing the approach, monitoring if it works and navigating the ethical and privacy questions such data analyses raise.

In December, the UW System Board of Regents approved a five-year, $10.8 million contract with Education Advisory Board, the firm that developed the Navigate Student Success Collaborative system to track student data. The technology will expand to every campus except Madison. Campuses in Oshkosh, Milwaukee, Platteville and Eau Claire piloted the technology.

 

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