Anyone who uses a smartphone or shops online has had their habits tracked, click by telling click. Big companies comb through that data to find patterns in human behavior and to understand, anticipate, and offer up goods and services we are most likely to purchase. Through predictive analytics, they identify trends and forecast our future choices.
This high-tech data crunch has become increasingly common in higher education, too. Colleges and universities are facing mounting pressure to raise completion rates and have embraced predictive analytics to identify which students are at risk of failing courses or dropping out.