By Danni Ybarra |Staff Writer|
There is a new app on the market designed to increase retention rates and improve grades at colleges by tracking student attendance.
The program, Class120, created by Jeff Whorley and his team at Core Principle, seeks to “help students succeed in college,” as stated on their official website, by tracking student attendance and sending notifications to parents and/or school officials when students skip class.
The app uses GPS to pin-point a student’s location. If they are not within range of a certain area, within a certain period of time, the app then considers the student to be skipping class and sends the notification to their parents or officials.
“Schools are under pressure from taxpayers and parents to increase retention and graduation rates”, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“Of the first time freshmen who began in Fall 2008, 47 percent of them completed their bachelor’s degree within six years” stated CSUSB Director of Institutional Research, Dr. Muriel Lopez-Wagner. “Our current retention rate is 88 percent,” added Lopez-Wagner.
CSUSB’s retention rate is greater than the national average reported by the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES), which currently stands at 79 percent for four-year public universities.
However, the national graduation rate reported by IES is averaged at 59 percent for four-year public universities, which CSUSB falls short of.
Through research (where they found that 25 percent of students they surveyed miss a year or more of classes throughout their college career) the Class120 team decided that the solution to raise these numbers was to “go to class”, which is now the motto for the app.
There are two package types (basic and plus) and four different versions of the app— for colleges, athletic departments, parents and for students.
Depending on the package and version, Class120 provides real-time information regarding categories such as most missed classes, percentage of classes attended, countdown until next class time, and notifications sent.
Efforts to determine whether the app can be turned-off or go incognito from parents and officials turned up no results.
Universities such as Columbia College of Chicago, Georgetown University, UC San Diego, and many more have already tested the Class120 app.
“I feel if the students need the extra pressure to attend class regularly, than this would definitely be beneficial for them”, said student Melissa Dailey.
“Ideally all classes should be attended, but it is ultimately up to the student’s discretion… the parents don’t attend class, the student does.” continued Daily.
However some feel differently,
“I think it’s an invasion of privacy,” said student Vladymir Gonzalez.
Harvard recorded classrooms without students’ knowledge to research class attendance patterns. While Villanova University in Philadelphia uses students’ ID cards to track attendance, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Attendance is the most accurate predictor of success in a college class,” stated the Class120 official website.
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