By Ross Brenneman
It’s not precognition, but it’s still prescient: A new dropout-warning system being built in Montgomery County, Md., can flag 75 percent of future dropouts as early as the second semester of 1st grade. My colleague Sarah D. Sparks has a big story about the tracking system, which you should read.
Some things are hard to foretell: the lottery, the NFL playoffs, love. But there is so much data and research about what increases the odds of a student doing poorly that this system seems inevitable for many more districts. It’s not perfect—it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future—but it seems workable. This is the future of big data in education: more and better comprehensive modeling systems.