Is it possible to predict a student’s college GPA using modern technology? According to a professor at Dartmouth, it is!
The app is called SmartGPA and uses a smartphone’s ability to sense a person’s activity and passively measure the kind of behavior that affects GPA. It tracks students while they are doing all things, academic or otherwise. By collecting a large amount of data about students, researchers are able to paint a more accurate picture of what the student is like as a person.
In one test with the app, using 30 students and a 10 week study, researchers found that face-to-face conversations in the evening and attending class more in the first half of the semester affected GPA for the better. Party hours don’t matter—brainiacs can party hard too.
So how accurate is SmartGPA? Surprisingly accurate, in fact. They claimed to predict GPA within 17 hundredths of a point. Their sample size was small, but that data is statistically significant in a big way. In fact, 17 hundredths of a point is almost too deep of a prediction when it comes to GPA (that is to say, we generally only care about our GPAs to a few decimal places) but it is still a great sign about this study that GPAs can be predicted so accurately—even in small sample sizes.
In the future, the professor hopes to teach students how to develop better habits and become better students. This sounds great in theory, but there are also those who are concerned for pretty obvious reasons. For example, some teachers worry that it may encourage parents to become more “helicopter-like” and to pay too much attention to their child’s education. Additionally, some are worried about the fact that the app collects so much data.
What do you think about all of this? Let us know in the comments section below!