- A new survey conducted by the University of Michigan and sponsored by Blackboard offers insight into how academic dashboards could encourage students with lower grades to improve their coursework performance, but some observers wonder if students would be motivated to use the system or to fully understand its metrics.
- Students of varying levels of academic achievement were given feedback about their performance at the beginning, midway and prior to the conclusion of the semester. When asked if the feedback helped to improve their motivation and standing in the course, high-achieving students were not likely to use the feedback, while students with lower grades responded favorably to the advisement messages.
- Across all groups, students liked the idea of the dashboard, but there was inconclusive evidence about whether students would use the information to actually make changes to study habits or approaches to assignments.
Adaptive learning tools and systems may soon become a standard part of the learning environment, but colleges must know what to do with these tools and have a clear idea of the desired outcomes. Would success be that low-performing students improve in classes, or that schools can report increased efforts to help students help themselves to be more successful in the pursuit of completion?
Provosts should work with deans and department chairs to get an assessment of the trends of student success across various majors and student profiles and decide if certain dashboards are better in specific areas instead of throughout all colleges and schools. This increases spending efficiency and maximizes the value of what could be an expensive experiment in student success.