Professors have no control over their students' age, ethnicity, or income level, yet many student-retention systems use these data points—sometimes described as the demography of destiny—as the foundation of their schools' predictive algorithms. While the approach has shown success at many schools, it's ill suited to institutions like Strayer University, a primarily online, open-access institution that caters to working adults. So Strayer developed its own retention strategy based on benchmarks over which it does have some control: student engagement.

"We found that our learning management system attributes—especially when grouped in ways that get at the work effort and patterns of students—are...

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About the Author:

Andrew Barbour is a contributing editor with eCampus News.