Christmas Hedgehog

This Week in Learning Analytics (Holiday Edition)

Christmas Hedgehog
My dog REALLY liked his Christmas Hedgehog…and he wasn’t about to share, either.


Higher Ed

December 26, 2014
UltraViolet Seeks Adjustment to College Rankings to Include Rape Statistics
UltraViolet recently rolled out a massive, scathing online ad campaign that discourages prospective students from applying to roughly three dozen sought-after colleges and universities that have been spotlighted for allegedly mishandling sexual violence issues on their campuses, including Brown University, Dartmouth College, University of California at Berkeley, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Arizona State University. The group takes particular aim at The Princeton Review, which does not include rape stats in its rankinsg, despite considerations of alcohol consumption, pot-smoking, and tasty food.

December 19, 2014
Federal Government Releases College Ranking Framework, Based on Information that is not Currently Widely Collected
The U.S. Department of Education has pledged to issue American college ratings in time for the 2015 school year. The evaluation framework rates colleges in terms of (1) ACCESS: how many low-income/disadvantaged students they educate, (2) AFFORDABILITY: how affordable they are, and (3) OUTCOMES: how well graduates do financially, and in the job market and in graduate school. The rating system and timeline are very ambitious, as this information is currently very difficult to obtain and collect. In response, U.S. News and World Report plans to start producing a “Best Value Schools” ranking, as well as incorporate additional data made available under the Obama plan as part of its existing ranking methodologies.


December 26, 2014
New England States Agree on Common Method for Sharing Educational Data
Through its Common Data Project, the New England Secondary School Consortium recently released figures that look at high school graduation and dropout rates — as well as rates of college enrollment and retention — for every New England state except for Massachusetts.

December 22, 2014
West Virginia Launches New Education Database
ZoomWV is a dashboard that allows public access to educational data collected by the West Virginia Department of Education since the 1990’s. In making these data available, student privacy has been a priority. Student-level data is not stored in the database, and the state Board of Education has recently codified a pledge not to share student data with third-party providers.

December 22, 2014
AVID Program for At-Risk High Schoolers Shows Success in College
ADIV (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national program that began in the 1980s and that aims at helping students in groups less likely to go to college. In Texas, participants in the program are seeing not only increased rates of enrollment, of of persistence as well.

Privacy & Ethics

December 20, 2014
Pennsylvania Parents Concerned about Student Data Collection
Pennsylvania parents have petitioned Governor Tom Corbett to put a moratorium on data collection practices. Parents cite concerns about personality collecting, limiting access to information by third-party vendor, and ensuring the protection of constitutional rights.


December 24, 2014
US Study Identifies Educational Inequalities
The U.S. Department of Education recently released its Equitable Access to Excellent Educators study, a state-by-state look at how schools are educating minority students and those living in poverty. Students living in poverty are more likely to have teachers who are unlicensed or inexperienced.


December 26, 2014
Cutting-Edge College Readiness Tool Comes to Philly Public Schools
With the help of private philanthropy, the Philadelphia school district has inked a five-year deal that will give its 6th to 12th grade students access to the Naviance platform — a web-based college-and-career readiness tool that officials say has been used to great success by wealthier districts across the nation for years.

December 17, 2014
Renaissance Learning Adds Education Entrepreneur John Katzman to Board of Directors
Renaissance Learning, which specializes in K12 assessment and learning analytics, recently added John Katzman to its board of directors. Katzman is founder of Noodle Education, 2U, and the Princeton Review.

Fake News

December 22, 2014
Engineering Student Develops App that Tells how much to Study for Desired Results
You know that learning analytics is going main stream when you start to see fake news story’s start popping up. The only thing this fake news app won’t do is predict whether or not you will find a girlfriend of boyfriend: “I study in an engineering college so I couldn’t get enough data,” Ramesh told Faking News when asked why his app doesn’t cover this aspect.

I Wish That This Was Fake News

December 22, 2014
Student Data Cards… A Student Motivational Tool and Data Tracker
Either a low-tech approach to learning analytics, or really silly. For the teacher who is either very lazy, or has an embarrassingly low degree of word-processing ability, I suppose that $3 is a small price to pay.



Student Data Privacy in 2014: Revelations, Legislation, Controversy by Benjamin Herold
A review of 10 of the year’s biggest Education Week stories on the topic of student data privacy.


Why Comparing Lots of Colleges Might Not Help as Many Students as You’d Think by Beckie Supiano
Supiano notes that university ranking systems (most notably, the rankings published regularly by U.S. News & World Report do not address the concerns guiding student-decisions about college. Instead, she notes the importance of geography, as a function of an interest in keeping cost down on the one hand, and of a tolerance for risk on the other.

An important consequence of considering the importance of geography is that it forces a re-envisioning of the educational market. The market is not best conceived as National, or even in terms of the State. Instead, markets are regional, and in such a way that students are likely to privilege location over educational quality, or even future career options. This is crucial to keep in mind as students are advised out of high school, but also as a significant possible cause of attrition (students attending colleges farther from home are likely to transfer to local schools after only a year away). It should also motivate a more distributed approach to educational investment.

I am reminded here of Bauman and Urry, who each argue that economic classes are no longer a function of access to means of production, but rather access to means of mobility. Those who have greater ability to overcome geographic boundaries (which includes both financial and cultural factors…a student not only requires the ability to leave home, but also a sufficient tolerance for risk) are most likely to have access to higher quality education, see higher levels of persistence (or maybe not, since increased mobility may in fact lead to a more DIY approach to higher educational achievement), and succeed beyond the walls of educational institutions.

A Year of Enhanced Student Privacy Laws by Glen W. Rectenwald & Doneld G. Shelkey
A brief summary of California’s ‘expanded student data privacy regime,’ and considerations for educational technology service providers. In light of the growing amount of state legislation being developed on the model of California’s Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA), the authors recommend that service providers develop products with SOPIPA in mind, as they may find themselves in the position of having to comply by 2016.