PUTTING DATA TO USE: The University of California system wants to enroll 10,000 more California undergraduates in the next three years. UC San Diego has developed a home-grown tool to help ensure its students will graduate on-time.
Like many early warning systems, the Time-to-Degree Early Warning System provides advisers with a dashboard showing how a student is performing across key indicators. But UCSD is focused, at least for now, on boosting on-time graduation—and its tool reflects this by providing a simple ranking from 0 to 10 of whether the student is on-track for four-year graduation. The ranking is supplied by an algorithm that draws from students’ GPAs, how many credits they have accrued toward their major and minor, whether they have completed prerequisites on time and if they have had to repeat classes. Doug Easterly, dean of advising at the university’s John Muir College, told the UC Newsroom that student privacy and ethics are key issues his team has considered: “What we don’t want is for this to be used to discourage a student from pursuing a particular major.”
UCSD tested the tool with a sample of advisers this spring and plans to fully launch this fall. Future plans for the tool include a feature that will suggest programs and services on campus that can assist struggling students.