Professor Studies ID Card Data to Predict Dropouts
University ID cards could yield ideas on how to help lower college dropout rates, according to a University of Arizona professor.
Sudha Ram, a professor of management information systems at the Tucson university, believes her preliminary study may have found a better way to predict which freshmen will likely drop out, The Arizona Republic reported.
Student IDs, called CatCards, are used at about 700 campus locations, including residence halls, the recreation center and the library. Ram worked with university Information Technology to gather and analyze data on the use of freshmen's IDs over a three-year period, according to the university.
The preliminary study indicated that social integration and routine were better predictors of freshman retention than end-of-term grades — a marker traditionally used to gauge retention.
"Of all the students who drop out at the end of the first year, with our social integration measures, we're able to do a prediction at the end of the first 12 weeks of the semester with 85 to 90 percent recall," Ram said. "That means out of the 2,000 students who drop out, we're able to identify 1,800."
Ram believes the study shows that it could be possible to use the IDs for predictive analytics. "We live in an era where you shouldn't be generalizing about groups of people," Ram said. "You should be personalizing solutions at the individual level."