Giving Compass' Take:

· Colleges are beginning to adopt big data and predictive analytics as a way to identify struggling or soon-to-be struggling students before it's too late. These methods are said to be positive, but critics believe that it is an invasion of privacy and reinforces racial inequities.

· What type of help is provided for these students? What other ways can schools identify struggling students?

· Check out this article to see a different perspective on this topic and why it's more important to focus on addressing the basic needs of student to promote success.

When Keenan Robinson started college in 2017, he knew the career he wanted. He’d gone to high school in a small town outside Atlanta. His parents had never finished college, and they always encouraged Robinson and his two older siblings to earn degrees. Robinson’s older brother was the first in the family to graduate. “My parents always stressed how powerful an education is and how it is the key to success,” Keenan said.

When Robinson arrived at Georgia State University in Atlanta, he wanted to major in nursing.  “I always knew I had a passion for helping people,” he said. Biology had been his best subject in high school. “My dad, my mom would always kind of call me like the king of trivia because I’d always have just like random science facts,” he said.

During his freshman year, Robinson earned a B average. But the university was closely tracking his academic performance and knew from 10 years of student records that Robinson wasn’t likely to make the cut for the nursing program.

Georgia State is one of a growing number of schools that have turned to big data to help them identify students who might be struggling – or soon be struggling – academically so the school can provide support before students drop out.

Read the full article about colleges using big data by Jill Barshay and Sasha Aslanian at The Hechinger Report.