U of A tracking student ID cards to predict drop-outs - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

U of A tracking student ID cards to predict drop-outs

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The University of Arizona is now tracking where students swipe their student ID cards in an attempt to predict which ones will drop out.

Professor Sudha Ram has been analyzing the data for the past three years, the University of Arizona announced in a press release.

"It’s kind of like a sensor that’s embedded in them, which can be used for tracking them," said Ram in the release. "It’s really not designed to track their social interactions, but you can, because you have a timestamp and location information."

Ram said the data can help her team determine eighty-five to ninety percent of the students who will drop out by tracking their behavioral patterns.

"There are several quantitative measures you can extract from these networks, like the size of their social circle, and we can analyze changes in these networks to see if their social circle is shrinking or growing, and if the strength of their connections is increasing or decreasing over time," she said in the release.

The research has led some to question if it’s an invasion of privacy. Students that News 4 Tucson spoke with on campus said they did not know their information was being tracked in that way.

In the release, Ram acknowledged those concerns. But she said researchers do not know the names of the students they are tracking.

“[The] CatCard data she collected was completely anonymized so that she could not personally identify individual students by name, ID number or any other attributes. That information ultimately would be shared only with the students' adviser,” the release stated.

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