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New America Paper on Predictive Analytics

October 24, 2016

New America today released a paper that analyzes the use of data to predict student success, so-called predictive analytics. The practice, which is spreading rapidly, allows colleges to better intervene when students struggle, helping them chart a more direct line to graduation and better enabling the use of customized digital learning tools.

However, the use of predictive analytics also comes with risks, the think tank warned, including privacy concerns and a heightened possibility of discrimination, such as by profiling and discouraging capable students.

“There are a number of examples of colleges using predictive data to make inroads in student success or operational functions. But that doesn’t mean we can or should turn a blind eye to the possibility that using this technology can go badly,” Manuela Ekowo, policy analyst with New America’s Education Policy Program and the report's co-author, said in a written statement.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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