Researchers at the University of Arizona are studying what student ID cards reveal about their students and using this information to try to predict student success and retention.
For those that haven’t been around college campuses for a while, these ID cards are used to access dorm rooms, rec centers, libraries, to buy food at cafeterias and various campus convenience stores, and are often accepted at local businesses as well. Essentially, schools can build an entire social profile of students, monitoring their study habits, social interactions, purchasing decisions, dining habits, etc. by only following their ID cards.
As someone acutely aware of the tendency for university administrators to think of their students in terms of dollar signs, this opens up the possibility for a future in which student behavior is sold to companies or used for other commercial purposes. If we see this tracking move down to high schools, it opens up possibilities for college admissions based on surveillance of student behavior: i.e. the choice to admit or reject a student would be based not on ACTUAL performance but of predicted performance based on study habits or purchasing decisions.