A University of Arizona professor is digging into years of data on students' use of their university ID cards and believes examining cardholders' shopping habits, social circles and other characteristics could be used to help lower dropout rates.
The Arizona Republic reports Sudha Ram, a professor of management information systems at the Tucson university, believes her preliminary study may have found a better way to predict which freshmen likely will drop out.
Student IDs, called CatCards, are used at about 700 campus locations, including residence halls, the recreation center and the library. The university says Ram worked with university Information Technology to gather and analyze data on the use of freshmen's IDs over a three-year period.
The preliminary study indicated social integration and routine were better predictors of freshman retention than end-of-term grades — a marker traditionally used to gauge retention.