Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App - InformationWeek

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Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
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zerox203
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zerox203,
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5/29/2015 | 11:02:10 AM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
This is definitely a strong case for how a college campus can serve as microcosm for adult life. Sleeping, studying, exercising - the study didn't mention eating habits, but students do that on campus, too, and many of them even work there. I love being skeptical, but that .17 point accuracy is hard to argue with. Numbers don't lie. I suppose it's worth noting that Dartmouth is an Ivy League school so the results may have been skewed towards the positive end (the full report actually notes this)... or we may be looking at a more diligent than average group of students. I wonder what would/will happen if/when the study is repeated at other schools or with larger numbers of students. There's certainly proof here that the predictive model itself works.

There are a few things that left me wanting to know a little more. The video and the report make repeated mention of 'conscientiousness' and how it relates to improved grades. What the heck does that have to do with smartphone-based location tracking? Actually, of the four other conclusions they make, only two seem (potentially) tied to the location awareness -  shorter conversations (which I'm not sure how the phone would really measure with just location), and increased time studying. The others, "positive affect", and stress levels throughout the semester, seem to rely on 'periodic self-reports' instead, which they don't really describe how they carry out. It seems more like a hybrid study, which is fine, but this is not exactly a case of the Eye of Sauron phone. Certainly, as phones and wearables can pull more kinds of data together, though, we might get there sooner than we think.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 12:21:15 PM
Really confused here
Students who follow a set of daily activities except studying can check this app and see their expected GPAs and therefore reschedule their life activities in order to increase their GPAs. For example, a student who parties 2 hours daily finds his GPA to be 6.5 but then he reduces partying to one hour and sees his GPA improving, then that could motivate anyone to work hard. Also this app could host IQ, memory and logic based games to check whether it calculated the right GPA.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 12:22:35 PM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
@zerox - as an aside, conscientiousness is the only personality construct reliably shown to predict job performance.  You make a great point, this trait is based on self-reports typically in assessments - I'm not seeing the link to location-tracking either.  At my school, the library was kind of a hang-out, just because you went there  didn't mean you were studying.

Plus, there will always be that person who does not go to class, goes out all the time, and still gets an A on the test, just to throw a wrench into things.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 12:25:04 PM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
I think privacy was always the main problem in user information based apps, because right now anything with so much as a net connection, isn't safe anymore. For students this would be even more risky because it basically computes the data based on "where" the student went and "what" the student does. These "where" and "what" may be hacked. 
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 12:42:07 PM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
@vnewman2: Not only that the app predicts your GPA based on where you went. But you can go anywhere on the campus and be studying, for eg you can sit at a coffee shop and study, go to a commonplace and study, do whatever you like. Moreover I think this app can be made social like others would be able to track what their friends are doing and what their GPA would be if they are doing what the app thinks they are doing. Increases competition in many different layers.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2015 | 1:09:29 PM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
@Zerox203- I think things like conscientiousness are boiled into multiple aspects of the app. For instance, showing up at class or going to sleep on time. Things like that. The video, I believe, is to try more to help students succeed than it is to tell people exactly how the app works. They have really baked a lot of what makes a student succeed deeply into the app, but then the app can say to them, "hey, maybe you're skipping too many classes" or whatever and put it into plain english.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2015 | 1:12:38 PM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
@vnewman2- It is true that going to the library doesn't mean studying. I think I never studied once in the library in my whole college career. I liked to check stuff out and go to my room. But the algorithm is tailored to the culture. It would have to be tuned to other cultures which is both a drawback and a good thing. It makes it harder to release today to the whole world, but it means it is more likely to be based on reality.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 2:53:54 PM
So much hot air so little accuracy from Dartmouth
So an app that assumes simply because you are not in a library that you aren't studying.  This app would not yield anything accurate if I were to use it.  I'm guessing I'm not the only student on the planet who hasn't used the library exclusively to study/do homework.  Also, as any overworked, over tired student can attest, just because you make a physical appearance in class does not necessarily indicate you're paying attention and/or taking notes.  If this app is used as most tech is -a panacea- to predict certain outcomes, e.g. work performance, then its creator(s) and the dopey businesses that use it are in for a tremendous surprise.  This app MAY work accurately on those under age 18 but that's about the sum total of the demographic that will lead to anything useful.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 6:30:19 PM
Re: Dartmouth Predicts GPA Based on Phone Tracking App
@David - I have the perfect solution.  The app should pari up with the yet-to-be-released-new-and-improved google glass and actually process what your eyes are doing.  The eyes don't lie!  Now we're talking!
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2015 | 7:09:37 AM
Re: So much hot air so little accuracy from Dartmouth
@asksqn - yep, I'm with you - sounds like a load of crap. And the video says it relies on a bunch of student reported data as well as what the phone collects. So it sounds like the phone makes assumptions on study/party habits based on where you've been and asks you to input a bunch of questions that if factors in. Plus they don't say what the sample range of their respondants were. If they used a bunch of enthusiastic students it's not hard to see that the entire sample might not have deviated much more that .17 of a point.

Yawn - have them give us the next Angry Birds and then we'll talk.
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