Colleges Mine Data to Tailor Students' Experience

December 12th, 2011

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Marc Parry
Dec. 11, 2011

Educators have long held that the interactions between students and professors defy simple reduction. Yet in several areas of campus life, colleges are converting the student experience into numbers to crunch in the name of improving education.

Think of it as higher education meets Moneyball. In the movie, Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane reinvents his struggling baseball team by analyzing statistics in new ways to predict player success. In education, college managers are doing something similar to forecast student success—in admissions, advising, teaching, and more.

In one Harvard calculus class, even who you pair up with for group discussion is determined by a computer, one that tracks how well students are doing on the material.

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