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The official blog of @SCHEVResearch at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Discussions about our work, national higher education data policy, and highlights about the data we publish.


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Predictive analytics

by Tod Massa 21. August 2015 21:08

I hear a lot these days about the use of predictive analytics to improve student success. I know that at least a few Virginia schools are going down this path. If your college does this, I hope you will spend some time considering the ethics that are involved. Much of the new data collected for this purpose isn't actually new, it has has been around and generally not collected systematically. Some of it is new, and while it might considered harmless, such as time spent viewing a web page or hovering over the response choices to a test question, it does become part of the education record and subject to FERPA once attached to a student ID.

Some questions you may wish to consider:

1) Do you an ethical statement about what you collect and how it will be used (and not used)?

2) Have students been informed that you are collecting such data and how it might be used? (This is a general requirement of Virginia Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act and may apply to public institutions.)

3) How will you handle a student request to review these data?

There is a lot of power in the use of data. We have a responsibility for ensuring proper use. After all, to borrow a line from Spiderman, "With great data comes great responsibility."

Much of the higher ed news this week was too depressing, too weird, too vacuous to really spend time on it here. The reporting on the Lumina framework for affordability was interesting. Ten percent of a family's income for 10 years seems a bit steep to me,




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