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Digital Redlines In the winter of 2016, a number of second-term students set out to explore the nature of educa>on at Macomb Community College. They began by assessing the nature of credibility and the role of peer review in crea>ng credible knowledge. Then, they moved on to apply those insights to the implicit values in standardized surveys such as ACT’s ENGAGE survey, and finally they compared the curricula of our own college to that of Barnard to see if the differences exposed underlying no>ons of educa>on and class. Throughout, they have recognized that class and educa>on have a peculiar rela>onship. APer these preliminary studies, they began work on a larger project: this book. In these essays, students iden>fy issues of privacy, surveillance, digital redlining, and class bias to beSer understand their own posi>on in the rapidly changing world of American higher educa>on. The students sharpened their analy>cal skills by exploring Guided Pathways to Success, a program that seeks to provide — in its own words — “step-bystep roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on — saving >me and money — and significantly boos>ng [students’] success.” The collec>on avoids either-or thinking; it serves anyone interested in the complexi>es of postsecondary educa>on at community colleges.


Contributing Editors The writers listed below provided detailed bibliographic assistance and organiza>onal advice. Their own exper>se in various sub-topics lent added complexity to the essays that follow. In addi>on to their work with the discovery and edi>ng processes, each also produced a substan>al essay of her/his own. Their collabora>on earns each the right to claim the collec>on of essays as her or his own work.

Alyssa Beeker

Kevin Hite

John Morris

Katherine Betzing

Fabjola Hotaj

Jenna NoSle

KC Bidinger

Taylor Ichenberg

Maria Palazzolo

Madison Brown

Sandra Kachi

Corinn Palmer

Erin Cranston

Jordan Kappouta

Mario Pengili

Dezmond Dale

Karleen Kasha

Raegan Randolph

Sarah Denha

Karam Kathawa

Jordan Rodgers

Andrew Dennis

Samuael Khayrallah

Manella Sadikovic

Zachary Didia

Rotana Korkes

Joshua Salazar

Brendan Feeney

Jessica Lanni

Sarah Salem

Elizabeth Girard

Rachel Larson

Natasha Shlaimon

Linda Gjonaj

Patrick MacKinnon

Joseph Smith

Stephanie Gulla

Jacob McWherter

Shane Viaene

Victoria Haning

Felicia Mercurio

Kelsey-Marie Wesdorp

Cameron Hanson

Ashley Mishkoor

McKenna WiS

Zane Herr

Kennedey Moncrief

Mark Zyble


Contents Concepts

Educa3on as a Commodity Mark Zyble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Guided Pathways and the New Segrega3on

Patrick MacKinnon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Guided Pathways to Success: Standardizing Educators and Students

Natasha Shlaimon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Surveillance, Privacy, and Academic Success

Erin Cranston & Mario Pengili . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

The Favor of Success

Kevin Hite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .24

Mapping the Pathway

Felicia Mercurio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Guided Pathways to Success or to Control?

Manella Sadikovic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Guiding Wrong Ways Jenna NoSle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


Guiding Students into Surveillance

Ashley Mishkoor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Pathway to Invasion

McKenna WiS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

GPS: Whose Success is It? Raegan Randolph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Inten3ons

Maria Palazzolo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59


Educa3on as a Commodity ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mark Zyble

Over the course of decades, the educa>on system of the United States has seemed to remain consistent and foolproof to the public eye. Despite a wide range of post-secondary ins>tu>ons across the na>on, each holds with it some goal towards student success. This no>on of “success” has become the trigger word to allowing the ini>a>on of many new curricular pathways. With these curricula come a threat to student privacy not only through use of technology, but also within the university itself under the guise of a “personalized” educa>on. In an aSempt to reform, many ins>tu>ons are implemen>ng new programs with the hopes of furthering student achievement. "If you can get to a student before they drop out, you can keep them in the ins>tu>on" (Bailey). Although this mo>ve may seem studentoriented, and at best a construc>ve stepping stone, the agenda is quite ambiguous, sugges>ng something much more controversial may be taking place. This blanket idea of “reducing dropouts” and “raising gradua>on rates” may be detrac>ng from the true inten>ons at hand. One specific example that is affec>ng community college curricula is called Guided Pathways to Success. This program seems to emanate from many contemporary educa>onal reforms evidenced by its direct concern with student gradua>on rates. By replacing the well-known “cafeteria” method adopted by two-year ins>tu>ons, GPS intends to eliminate “wasted credits” by providing a direct pathway to obtaining a degree (Guided Pathways to Success). In doing so, students will find themselves gradua>ng at a much faster pace by enrolling in the bare minimal courses required for their chosen degree. This “curriculum shadow” privileges and dismisses specific knowledge for students (Urmacher) to obtain. By ini>a>ng such a standardized program, Guided Pathways to Success is elimina>ng the aspects that give community colleges their backbone, all while increasing gradua>on rates among ins>tu>ons and, likewise, turning the educa>on system into a commercialized business. There is significant evidence sugges>ng that a social class divide exists between two and fouryear ins>tu>ons. A study conducted by Jean Anyon on primary school educa>on, found that there seems to be a “hidden curriculum” within the system. The way each school is run parallels the workings of the social class it pertains to. Each student develops in accordance to social class standards and will find a future similar to others within it. With regards to community colleges, because of their voca>onal curricula, they act as a buffer towards four-year universi>es, who emphasize more independent and cri>cal thinking (Alba & Lavin). They also provide an “open-door policy” that gives the disadvantaged and slow-starters a chance at achieving a higher educa>on (Velez). However, by ini>a>ng Guided Pathways to Success, many two-year colleges are restructuring their en>re system, not just the curriculum. By providing a direct and clear path to on->me comple>on, GPS is elimina>ng the opportunity to discover a suitable field of study for those from working-class households who cannot otherwise afford to pay fouryear university fees. Removing “wasted credits” will poten>ally force students on a standardized path to achieving their degree, eradica>ng the emergence of individuality. The community colleges known for 6

“permirng different determinants to dominate in different areas of the curriculum” may be put at risk by introducing GPS, an “in-and-out” approach to working-class student degrees (Zoglin). With these colleges risking their most valuable assets, the students, the boundaries for educa>onal reform are now being restructured to the point of imminent damage. As a result of this new reform being implemented na>onwide, gradua>on rates are bound to skyrocket amongst community colleges. While this benefits the ins>tu>ons’ reputa>ons, it may come at some expense to their students. This opportunity cost has the risk of producing student graduates at higher rates, but without giving them necessary informa>on to be proficient in their careers. In other words, students are mindlessly going through their selected “path”. In essence, Guided Pathways to Success virtually diminishes most social factors of community colleges. As seen with standardized examina>ons and surveys, a standardized curriculum will bring about similar effects. This customary no>on of success trying to be achieved does not consider the types of success each individual strives for. Instead, Guided Pathways places the most emphasis towards gradua>ng on >me, and gradua>ng in general, being the universally accepted means of measuring student success. This is problema>c since the primary reason undergraduates aSend community college is to further explore career op>ons by enrolling in different courses. What is also not men>oned in the GPS program is the success rate, or lack thereof, of students in their professional field. With such a minimal course load, it must be assumed that each person is achieving an equally minimal degree of knowledge to obtain a working-class job. As for those who achieve above and beyond the course curriculum, they are restricted by the boundaries set by the direct degree pathway. Guided Pathways to Success assists underachieving or average performing students by providing “early signals about their prospect for success in a given field of study” (Guided Pathways for Success). This means of tracking is more of a “segrega>ve method that builds inequali>es into schools that both devalue and disadvantage” (Broaded). For example, those whose intelligence is beyond that of the average pupil are not given much opportunity to further themselves by enrolling in more advanced courses. Likewise, this path-serng approach foreshadows a lack of independent or cri>cal thinking on the part of the student. While these thought paSerns are oriented towards four-year universi>es, they certainly confine those with higher adapta>on abili>es to adjust to the working-class way of thinking and learning. Through the many aSempts at educa>onal reform, the true colors of the American educa>onal system begin to show themselves. Programs like Guided Pathways to Success are only a few of many examples that aSempt to commercialize the college industry. This process is known as “Academic Capitalism”, which is the “knowledge/learning regime shaped by higher educa>on ins>tu>ons in order to generate revenue from the produc>on of knowledge created by the curriculum and instruc>on” (Hanley). To simplify, the boundaries between universi>es and the market are becoming increasingly permeable. Many of the procedures adopted in Guided Pathways to Success, such as quality management, reengineering and strategic planning are all prac>ces “borrowed from the corporate world” (Hanley). This is not uncommon, but the approach to commercializa>on is now flying under the radar with educa>onal reform agendas claiming to base their mo>ves on student success and performance. Whether it be an increase in gradua>on rates or greater scholas>c achievements amongst students, all of these prospects are essen>ally a “transforma>on of knowledge into poten>ally profitable market commodi>es” for the universi>es. While it may seem the ins>tu>on cares for each of its 7

students, it must also build up its name in order to receive higher enrollment rates and na>onwide recogni>on. Unfortunately this appears to be achieved through the implementa>on of reforms that hide behind the persona of “elimina>ng the financial and academic pressure students face to do well and complete their degrees” (Warrell). What the colleges fail to recognize is that this stealthy approach to reform may instead cause more harm to their reputa>ons than good. With such stra>fied curricula among two-year and four-year colleges, it seems evident that different kind of educa>onal reform is necessary. It is because of this belief that the public has come to accept most programs out of sheer despera>on. This may be the case for Guided Pathways to Success. With its promise of a quick degree by disregarding “wasted credits”, it seems like an ideal road to student success. However, by recognizing its aSempt to restructure community colleges and generalize student knowledge, one can see the commercialized aspects that begin to unravel in a program such as this. With a lust for higher ra>ngs and gradua>on rates, community colleges seem to be likely candidates for reform since a nega>ve s>gma aSaches to their system. The ques>on is how far these two-year ins>tu>ons are willing to go in order to rebuild and rebrand their name? Seeing what Guided Pathways has to offer, it seems that they are willing to compromise the students themselves in order to achieve this goal. By gatekeeping knowledge towards certain degree pathways and focusing on a faster route to gradua>on, GPS seems to characterize students as burdensome to the community college reputa>on given the current system. However, without opportunity for discovery and individuality, two-year universi>es are becoming factories for the produc>on of mechanized working class members of society. It makes students more uniform and stops the diversity and compe>>on amongst schools. If that is the risk these colleges are willing to take, then the “reform” towards educa>on is taking a step in the wrong direc>on.

Works Cited Alba, Richard D., and David E. Lavin. “Community Colleges and Tracking in Higher Educa>on”. Sociology of Educa3on 54.4 (1981): 223–237. Web. hSp:// 2112565 Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Boston University Journal of Educa>on 162.1 (1980): 67-92. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <hSp://>. Bailey, Thomas. "Rethinking The 'Cafeteria' Approach to Community College." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 11 May 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. Broaded, C. Montgomery. “The Limits and Possibili>es of Tracking: Some Evidence from Taiwan”. Sociology of Educa3on 70.1 (1997): 36–53. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <hSp:// 10.2307/2673191>. Guided Pathways to Success. Rep. Complete College America, 2009. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. <hSp:// >. Hanley, Larry. “Academic Capitalism in the New University”. The Radical Teacher 73 (2005): 3–7. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.< hSp://>.


Kauppinen, Ilkka. “Towards Transna>onal Academic Capitalism”. Higher Educa3on 64.4 (2012): 543–556. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. < hSp://>. Uhrmacher, P. Bruce. “The Curriculum Shadow”. Curriculum Inquiry 27.3 (1997): 317–329. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <hSp://> Warrell, Helen. "Students Under Surveillance." Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd, 24 July 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. <hSp://w w>. Velez, William, and Rajshekhar G. Javalgi. “Two-year College to Four-year College: The Likelihood of Transfer”. American Journal of Educa3on 96.1 (1987): 81–94. Web. <hSp:// 1085178>. Zoglin, Mary Lou. “Community College Responsiveness: Myth or Reality?”. The Journal of Higher Educa3on 52.4 (1981): 415–426. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <hSp://>.


Guided Pathways and the New Segrega3on

Patrick MacKinnon


Guided Pathways is a program geared towards helping students succeed in higher educa>on by giving them a map to success that charts the courses needed to complete a degree in their desired field of study. Community colleges and four-year universi>es across the na>on are adop>ng this program in an aSempt to lower the dropout rate, and to help students achieve their goal of comple>ng their degrees. Guided Pathways says that “naviga>ng the complicated path through college is a difficult task for far too many. All students need step-by-step roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on — saving >me and money — and significantly boos>ng their success” ( Unfortunately, several poten>al problems result from programs like Guided Pathways. If Guided Pathways is the cure-all to the stated problems, why is it not adopted universally by all colleges? It seems that only colleges geared toward students from lower social statuses are adop>ng programs like this. This raises the ques>on – Is this actually a program to keep the students from lower income families from receiving the same educa>on as students from families with a higher social status? Such programs lead precipitously close to a form of digital redlining, and could return the higher educa>on system into a type of segrega>on based this >me not on race, but on economic class. In the past, redlining has been used in different ways to discriminate against people from minority races by limi>ng the choice of homes they could purchase and by denying specific services to those people. Despite society’s increased push for equality, changes in technology have caused a rebirth of redlining in the digital age. Guided Pathways and other programs similar to it seem to be reigni>ng this prac>ce of discrimina>on and segrega>on in the educa>onal system for students of lower economic status. By filtering and possibly limi>ng their access to educa>onal plans, programs like Guided Pathways may actually increase the gap between students of higher and lower socio economic status (SES). It is possible that Guided Pathways can be giving the illusion of higher educa>on equality, while simultaneously crea>ng a new version of discrimina>on against lower classes. In this country, higher educa>on has not always been accessible to all. Prior to World War II, higher educa>on was only available to a small elite, mainly upper class males of Western European descent. In 1960, means-tested grants were introduced in order to help students from lower economic status to gain access to higher educa>on. Soon aPer, colleges saw a 50% increase in enrollment between 1963 and 1968. By 1989, the enrollment numbers had increased by 150% from pre-WWII levels (Reay, Davies, David, and Ball 856). All of these improvements created posi>ve results for people from lower income status by increasing the number of minority graduates thus pushing them into higher economic classes. However, with the advent of programs like Guided Pathways, exclusion and discrimina>on may once again limit access to educa>on by narrowing the range of choices to which students from lower social status have access.


The gap in college gradua>on rates between economic classes demonstrates why community colleges like Macomb Community College, which typically aSract lower economic status students, are trying to use GPS to get closer to the gradua>on rates of higher status ins>tu>ons. These sta>s>cs are pointed out by Bailey who states, “six years aPer enrolling, less than four in ten community college students have earned a degree” (Bailey). To put this in perspec>ve, students who aSend Princeton University, have a six-year gradua>on rate of 97% (U.S. News & World Report). GPS has shown so far that schools that implement it have had a increased percentage of students gradua>ng. “The three-year degree gradua>on rate at Kennedy-King more than tripled in four years” (Bailey). However, even with these seemingly great sta>s>cs, there are s>ll some ques>ons about such programs. For example, were the students sa>sfied with the program? Did they receive an educa>on in their desired areas of study? And maybe even more importantly, were there any classes that would have been beneficial to the students that were not made available because of GPS’s streamlined model? While it is true that GPS’s efforts to increase student success has so far shown good numbers in many of the schools where it has been implemented, the underlying problema>c issue of digital redlining is evident throughout the model. For example, although GPS features op>ons for full->me and part >me credit hours, it leaves liSle room within those credits for experimen>ng in other fields of study. A student can be denied the freedom to take a course he or she finds interes>ng if the counselors decide it strays too far from the GPS guidelines. The program limits the choices of classes in order to eliminate confusion, but it is also possibly stopping the students from taking classes they might enjoy or that could be beneficial to their futures. Colleges which adopt GPS would necessarily become more standardized in order for the counselors to make sure each student receives iden>cal counsel and instruc>on. This rigidity could contribute to the previously men>oned standardiza>on of students by giving them less personal input into curriculum choices and giving the counselors considerable control over the type of educa>on the student will receive. These significant powers the counselors gain not only take freedom from the students, they severely limit the ability of the professors to teach the cri>cal thinking which is crucial to providing an excep>onal higher educa>on. Another nega>ve consequence that could arise from GPS is the standardiza>on of students. By trea>ng them as objects that can be easily programmed, instead of people with their own personal lives, ins>tu>ons may inadvertently distance their goals from their students’ needs. By ignoring the individuality of each student’s situa>on such as income level, quality of primary educa>on, family responsibili>es, and jobs, as well as students’ reasons for aSending college, such ins>tu>ons could greatly diminish the benefits of a higher educa>on. One report states that “family income has a highly significant effect, even aPer controlling for the effect of educa>onal background variables and other observable characteris>cs” (S>nebrickner and S>nebrickner 602), showing that a class division already exists in educa>on based on income. Another report showed that “nearly all (79 percent) community college students worked while enrolled (averaging 32 hours per week), and 41 percent worked full >me” (Horn and Neville, V). By teaching, evalua>ng, and advising these students without taking into account their personal life circumstances, community colleges relying on GPS will certainly fail to provide them with an educa>on commensurate with that from a private college or other school serving primarily upper class students.


The educa>on gap between classes has been documented for years, and it occurs throughout all levels of educa>on. In grade school, at generally higher SES schools, Anyon notes that “in the affluent professional school, work is crea>ve ac>vity carried out independently. The students are con>nually asked to express and apply ideas and concepts” (79). This is very different from what goes on at lower social class schools, where “The procedure is usually mechanical, involving rote behavior and very liSle decision making or choice” (Anyon 73). She shows that in early stages of educa>on, a class division exists, which can easily con>nue through higher educa>on. Thus, where selec>ve colleges will con>nue to maintain high educa>onal goals for their students, community colleges ins>tu>ng GPS programs may create a sub-par job training environment for their primarily lower income student body. The pedagogies that GPS schools employ are similar to what Anyon’s studies found in grade schools in low income neighborhoods: a straigh•orward transmission curriculum in which the teachers are to simply transfer informa>on to the students. On the other hand, a cri>cal pedagogy will teach cri>cal thinking, and is a less uniform way of teaching. The laSer format is commonly seen in higher social class grade schools, as well as more selec>ve colleges and universi>es. However, GPS shiPs the power away from the instructors to the advisors and counselors. Guided Pathways even calls it “intrusive, on->me advising” (, because the advisors are now direc>ng the students where to go to obtain the informa>on that has been decided is required. This suggests that all the instructors in a certain field are teaching from the same pool of informa>on, and all giving the same material, in order that the advisors know what informa>on has been delivered to the students. Because of this shiP in power from the instructors to the advisors at schools that adopt GPS, they will become less personalized and more standardized, which will result in further widening the educa>on gap between classes. Although students so far at these schools are gradua>ng at higher rates, it is important to consider how and why this is the case. Since the goal of schools implemen>ng GPS are looking to lower the student dropout rate, there is a possibility that students can be rushed through the program. Students may be allowed to con>nue even if they do not have good grades simply to keep the dropout level low. This can result in the school appearing to be successful, but it is obviously counterproduc>ve for the students. Already, it is shown that “at selec>ve ins>tu>ons, approximately 7% of two-year transfers, 5% of four-year transfers, and 8% of direct entrants are from low-SES backgrounds, based on the combined enrollment shares from the two lowest quin>les” (Dowd, Cheslock and Melguizo 456), which shows that there are too few students from lower social classes aSending selec>ve colleges. And standardiza>on at less selec>ve schools does not seem to help this issue because GPS defines success as a student earning a C grade, and enrolling in classes in the following semester. This defini>on does not improve student achievement, but it is able to ar>ficially bump up the school’s “success” rate, which can be rewarded with funding for the school. The fact that community colleges and smaller 4-year universi>es are embracing GPS while bigger universi>es are not, is indica>ve of the program’s serious shortcomings. Guided Pathways appears to be crea>ng a larger gap between the social classes because of the differences in pedagogy. Because of the way the students are taught, GPS could possibly be channeling students into specific areas of work, par>ally by leaving it up to the advisors to decide what classes students may take and limi>ng their op>ons. GPS’ lax defini>on of student success ensures that a student will technically “succeed”, but 12

preparing him or her for further educa>on does not seem to be the main focus. Rather, comple>ng the ascribed courses in the proper amount of >me appears to be of primary concern. By forcing this limi>ng form of “higher educa>on” on the lower income students in our society, colleges embracing the Guided Pathways to Success educa>on model is clearly digital redlining revitalized in the current age.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Journal of Educa>on 162.1 (1980): 66-92. Web. hSp:// Bailey, Thomas. Rethinking the ‘cafeteria’ approach to community college. N.P.: The `Washington Post, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. hSps:// Dowd, Alicia C., John J. Cheslock, and Ta>ana Melguizo. "Transfer Access from Community Colleges and the Distribu>on of Elite Higher Educa>on." The Journal of Higher Educa3on 79.4 (2008): 442-72. Web. 22 Mar. 2016. hSp:// _=145883901043 “Guided Pathways to Success." (2009). Web. hSp:// ewExternalFiles/GPS_Summary_FINAL.pdf Horn, Laura, and Stephanie Nevill. "Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Educa>on Ins>tu>ons: 2003–04." U.S. Department of Educa>on (2006). Web. 2 May 2016. hSp:// Reay, Diane, Jacqueline Davies, Miriam David, and Stephen J. Ball. "Choices of Degree or D e g r e e s o f Choice? Class, ‘Race’ and the Higher Educa>on Choice Process." Sociology 35.4 (2001): 855-74. US News & World Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. hSp:// best-colleges/rankings/na>onal-universi>es/data


Guided Pathways to Success: Standardizing Educators and Students _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Natasha Shlaimon

Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) is a program that creates a step-by-step roadmap for students to complete college on >me. This program seems appealing from a glance, especially to a college or university. However, the fragments of GPS divulge its true goal of standardizing college professors and students. The deeper core of GPS is centered on default pathways, data mining, performance metrics, and curng costs. The ins>tu>onaliza>on of GPS forces students to follow a roadmap that is enforced by the gatekeepers themselves. Students become reluctant to engage broader areas of study that are outside of their major, and this is radically different from the tradi>ons of a university educa>on as a form of personal discovery. The teaching-learning environment is a product of knowledge, intellectual-flexibility, and the inclusive ideas are the preroga>ve, not the mandate, of the gatekeepers (John 375). GPS causes a decline in intellectual-flexibility because the program itself mandates students’ academic pathways. Educa>on suddenly is commodified because the primary goals are centered on curng costs, increasing student reten>on, and producing on->me gradua>on. The benefits to the goals of GPS become consequen>al to students and professors because it reconstructs educa>on into a standardized society. Students who matriculate at a college or university are not limited by the society’s inclina>onal outcomes of college educa>on to earn a degree; they also want to be the leaders of their own academic journey. GPS disregards the students’ voices by standardizing their pathway to gradua>on by using default programs, which are based on data mining and milestone courses. College students do not want to spend unnecessary excess >me and money on courses that are irrelevant to their major. However, when the system becomes a product of surveillance and data mining, students no longer have the freedom they aspired to have when they originally aSended the college or university. The Financial Times tries to jus>fy the use of personal data by declaring that it will be an aid to students by helping them achieve the most from the investment they are contribu>ng to their educa>on (Warrell 2015), but educa>on is not a business investment. It is more complex and can not be reduced to a return-on-investment model. Data mining may be sufficient in compiling performance metrics, but it does not acquire the cogni>ve ability to decipher indirect factors that contribute to a student’s success. Indirect factors may include factors such as, family, health, jobs, and other personal issues that may affect a student’s academic performance. When data fails to recognize indirect factors, a student is no longer individualized, but rather standardized. The student is put into a category that does not dis>nctly iden>fy his or her abili>es to succeed. Mairƒn Mac An Ghaill states that colleges and Universi>es are increasingly under pressure to adopt reduc>onist models of educa>on reform that commodi>ze their value in the marketplace; rather than crea>ng educa>onal models that revolve around intrinsic values. Ghaill proclaims that this view of curriculum reform places an emphasis on the produc>vity and efficiency of the program 14

itself rather than understanding the complexity and inter-subjec>vity of the process of learning and teaching (223). Data mining creates a gap in the system because it does not acknowledge the complexi>es of pedagogy. GPS u>lizes data mining to configure a student’s default pathway. GPS relies on data to measure produc>vity and success. It correlates a student’s performance on assessments with his or her ability to succeed in a par>cular field. It is standardizing the student through this act because it is limi>ng the student’s ability to explore different fields of study through cri>cal thinking. Students no longer depend on higher-level thinking skills to dis>nguish their field of study, but rather, they depend on GPS to structure their academic pathway to gradua>on. In a study that evaluated students’ perspec>ves on curriculum innova>on, students were experiencing that “gerng done becomes more important than what was done or how one got there” (Apple 59). GPS ini>ates the idea of gerng done quickly; students then are not focused on the value of higher educa>on and exploring different fields. They are pressured to refrain from taking addi>onal courses and exploring dynamic fields of study. GPS ensures students will graduate on >me by monitoring their performance and placing them in the field of study that best reflects their success in dis>nct college subjects. Student surveillance by colleges or universi>es may seem harmless to the gatekeepers, but it undermines a student’s ability to succeed; it is also an invasion of privacy. When students become a product of a program that ins>tu>onalizes on->me gradua>on through methods of surveillance, they become a whole, rather than one. Suddenly, one student’s academic goal does not become the focal point for academic advisors. Academic advisors iden>fy student issues by looking at the whole student body and using the method of surveillance to propose solu>ons to one student. This is when standardiza>on of students arises in colleges or universi>es because a student’s own personal reflec>ons on his or her academic goals are disregarded; other students who fit in the same category in accordance to GPS dictate the student’s academic goals. GPS makes it more difficult for students to change their program of study because it requires students to get approval by the college in order to do so. An advisor uses performance metrics to iden>fy what field of study the student will succeed in. JeanneSe A. Colyvas states, “performance metrics transform social structure, oPen undermining the iden>ty mission, and, ironically, accomplishments of organiza>ons (169). The requirement for students to get college approval before changing their major subverts the mission of aSending college. Students aSend college because they want to be introduced to a wide variety of different studies. They want to explore their op>ons and have the freedom to revaluate their field of study when they desire to. Students who decide to pursue a higher educa>on by going to college do so because they aspire to discover themselves. Students do this while aSending college by diversifying their areas of study and coming out of their comfort zones. In an ar>cle that advocates standardiza>on, colleges are cri>qued for their poor record in helping students nego>ate diversity by providing them with the skills needed to comprehend it. Instead of using diversity as a defensive approach to standardiza>on, colleges should address the common prac>ces that underlie that diversity (Graff, Birkenstein 17). The methods of GPS, which encourage standardiza>on of students, do not succeed in teaching students the skills needed to understand diversifica>on because it is limi>ng them to defaulted pathways. This is depriving a student’s exposure to diversity and is purng them in a classroom with people who 15

supposedly have the same academic pathway. College is supposed to encourage students to broaden their intellect by par>cipa>ng in classes with people from different backgrounds that will challenge their cri>cal thinking abili>es. Using some methods of standardiza>on in college, such as assessments may be helpful in defining the underlying common prac>ces that relate to diversity in colleges; but colleges cannot standardize the fundamentals of cri>cal thinking and academic pathways. This is when pedagogy is disrupted by the ul>mate goal of GPS, which is to create a roadmap for students to graduate college on >me. GPS not only standardizes the student, but it also standardizes college professors. The controversy between standardiza>on and college students has been prolonged for a long >me. The educa>onal reform that colleges are partaking in, such as GPS, is also genera>ng standardized professors. When students are pressured to iden>fy their academic pathway, which will ensure they graduate college on >me, professors face an opportunity cost. College professors must abide by the college’s cultural mission, and if that mission is to ensure students graduate on >me, then professors will arrange their teachings in accordance with such goals. This form of pedagogy can be harmful to students and college professors themselves. The quality of educa>on is diminished because it is controlled by an automa>c system, which is driven by data accumula>on. There is a trend in the increase of part->me or adjunct faculty in community colleges. Jacoby (2002) has suggested that this trend alone is hindering classroom pedagogy because part->me faculty is less readily available to students and also uses less challenging instruc>onal methods. This issue is interconnected with the complica>ons that GPS proposes in relevance to standardiza>on because it poses the threat of a greater increase in part->me facul>es in colleges overall. Colleges, par>cularly community colleges, already suffer from a high percentage of part->me facul>es. GPS will increase part->me faculty in colleges because the professor is standardized. Colleges are no longer dependent on the exper>se of the professor, but rather the defaulted and automated program of GPS. Curng costs is one of the goals of GPS and colleges will par>cipate in hiring more part->me faculty because the professors serve to only follow the GPS program. Tradi>onally, college professors gather in mee>ngs and engage in collabora>ve conversa>ons about the performance trends that they iden>fy within the classroom. They also propose ideas and new methods of teaching techniques that may strengthen teacher-student rela>onships and overall improve performance. GPS takes away this need for professors to collec>vely engage with one another. Professors become a shadow of the program itself. Gilbert (26) states, “the dialog of defining academic outcomes and measures unites the faculty and establishes evidence based arguments for fiscal priori>es that support high-quality instruc>on, advising, and counseling.” Colleges will no longer need professors to regularly meet and produce ideas that will assist in curng costs and improving educa>on. When professors are not exchanging ideas and coopera>ng together, they become standardized like the students because there is no longer a demand to share ideas that precipitate divergent teaching methods; college programs and pedagogy becomes defaulted by the system. Professors will follow the program according to the rules GPS. In programs like GPS, where data mining is persistent, it is important for professors to deliver instruc>onal lectures that reflect the defaulted pathway. Failure to follow the program may produce inadequate data, which GPS is dependent on. Professors become reluctant to increasing the quality of pedagogy because they are 16

focused on mee>ng the standards of GPS. This leads to the ques>on of whether professors will even be necessary in the classroom. The elevated level of standardiza>on that will exist within college professors may shiP towards an educa>onal model, which revolves around online classrooms. Prior research portrays that online teaching is effec>ve when teaching strategies match the technology with the course content and the mode of course delivery, and not the content with the technology (Frantzen 568). Online classrooms are effec>ve when professors who are ac>ve in the virtual world carry them out. The standardiza>on of professors the results from GPS will alter online learning environments because the classroom will also be based on default pedagogy. Hence the need to involve professors in online teaching becomes less likely; this is all contribu>ng to the standardiza>on of students and professors. The approach GPS takes in crea>ng default pathways, which are elements of the program’s goal for on->me gradua>on is compromising colleges’ tradi>onal ability to provide quality pedagogy. In order to achieve authen>c pedagogy, educators will need to display new approaches to pedagogy that are enriched with high intellectual standards and prac>ces that enhance student performance (Newmann et al. 282). The alterna>ve to GPS is a program that encompasses real standards rather than crea>ng a student and faculty body that is stripped of their individuality. GPS uses the accumula>on of student data as a posi>ve aSribute to iden>fy issues and introducing solu>ons to college educa>on. When it comes to data, the United States has been extremely successful in collec>ng test scores, gradua>on rates, and aSendance and dropout rates. The desire to reform educa>on is an implicit factor of measuring success. The problem is that such measures, while they iden>fy where there is trouble, they don’t actually cease the trouble (Meier 191). GPS iden>fies student struggling paSerns, but it does not necessarily eradicate the issues that underline what is hindering student success. It only creates a program that is suscep>ble to a standardized curriculum, which is accompanied by standardized students and professors. GPS is revolu>onizing tradi>onal teaching methods that involve crucial pedagogy. College is under a cri>cal >me of reexamina>on of educa>onal strategies. The implementa>ons of programs such as GPS put serious strains on the future of students and teachers and professors.

Works Cited Apple, M. W. (1983) Work, class and teaching, in: S. Walker & L. Barton (Eds) Gender, Class and Educa>on (Lewes, Falmer Press). Colyvas, JeanneSe A. “Performance Metrics as Formal Structures and Through the Lens of Social Mechanisms: When Do They Work and How Do They Influence?”. American Journal of Educa3on 118.2 (2012): 167–197. Frantzen, Durant. “Is Technology a One-size-fits-all Solu>on to Improving Student Performance? A Comparison of Online, Hybrid and Face-to-face Courses”. Journal of Public Affairs Educa>on 20.4 (2014)- 565–578.


Gilbert, Greg. “Making Faculty Count in Higher Educa>on Assessment”. Academe 96.5 (2010)/ 25– 27. Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. “A Progressive Case for Educa>onal Standardiza>on”. Academe 94.3 (2008): 16–20. Web... Jacoby, Daniel. “Effects of Part->me Faculty Employment on Community College Gradua>on Rates”. The Journal of Higher Educa>on 77.6 (2006)/ 1081–1103. John, Beverly M.. “The Poli>cs of Pedagogy”. Teaching Sociology 31.4 (2003): 375–382. Mairƒn Mac An Ghaill. “Student Perspec>ves on Curriculum Innova>on and Change in an English Secondary School: An Empirical Study”. Bri3sh Educa3onal Research Journal 18.3 (1992): 221–234. Meier, Deborah. “Standardiza>on Versus Standards”. The Phi Delta Kappan 84.3 (2002)/ 190–198. Newmann, Fred M., Helen M. Marks, and Adam Gamoran. “Authen>c Pedagogy and Student Performance”. American Journal of Educa>on 104.4 (1996)/ 280–312. Warrell, Helen. "Students Under Surveillance." Financial Times. N.p., 24 July 2015. Web. 05 May 2016.


Surveillance, Privacy, and Academic Success

Erin Cranston & Mario Pengili


Guided pathways to success (GPS) is a program that aSempts to help students “Navigate the complicated path through college” (Complete College America n.p). GPS tries to solve problems many students are facing, like not comple>ng their degrees on >me and spending too much money on unnecessary credits. To prevent these problems GPS offers “a step-by-step roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on — saving >me and money — and significantly boos>ng their success” (Complete College America n.p). The GPS programs starts when the student first begins college, students are expected to meet with an academic advisor, and they will choose a degree they would like to obtain. The GPS system puts an emphasis on obtaining a degree that will be in high demand in the future, and that is aligned with the student’s interests based on past high school records. Then the advisor offers an exclusive list of courses the student can take for that specific degree. In order to ensure on >me comple>on, advisors will schedule a minimum of 30 credits per year. The advisor will also make sure that the classes chosen are in a block schedule, for example they will have eight am to noon classes five >mes a week. Built into students schedules every semester will be milestone classes. These are the more challenging classes students must take for their specific degree. If a student fails a milestone class, then the “system can automa>cally place a student on administra>ve hold and require a mee>ng with an advisor” (Complete College America n.p). If students do choose to change their degree plans in the future, then they will have to talk to their advisor about that. Advisors have the power to veto the student’s decision and have them con>nue on their current degree path. The GPS system may sound like a good idea on the surface, however there are problema>c issues involving student privacy that this program neglects to acknowledge. The GPS system uses invasive tac>cs to give a school schedule that will help students succeed; however, with all guidelines and surveillance enforced by GPS it hurts student’s future success. The GPS’s system flaws start at the very beginning of the student’s college career. The system uses “past academic performance in high school to provide recommenda>ons to students” (Complete College America n.p). Jean Anyon noted in her ar>cle “Hidden Curriculum” how students were taught based on their social classes. Work for children of upper class families was understanding concepts, rather than gerng the right answer. However, for kids of lower social class families “work is following the steps of a procedure...involving rote behavior and very liSle decision making or choice” (73). This leads children of low class families to work similar low class jobs. If a student comes from a low class educa>on, advisors can examine their high school records and recommend very basic degrees, which do not allow them much advancement in social class. This social class immobility is the exact opposite of one of the key goals of college students. In a study of college students from high and low income families a large majority of “The lower income LiSle Ivy [league school] group [of students] an>cipated occupa>ons that would elevate them over their 19

parents” (Aries, Elizabeth, and Seider 148). Surveillance of students past and recommending classes for them based on their high school records will lead to students having classes that prepare them for occupa>ons similar to their parents; Despite the fact, that most lower income students plan to get careers that are beSer than those of their parents. This intense surveillance of students and decision making on their behalf makes college feel like a waste of >me for everyone, but especially lower class students. Why would students be interested in going to college if it forces them to live the same life they are already living? Another flaw at the beginning of the GPS program is that it assumes college students, who are usually 17, 18 or 19, know what job they want, and what degree to pursue; However, “Among bachelor’s degree students entering STEM fields between 2003 and 2009, nearly one-half (48 percent) had leP these fields by spring 2009. Some leP STEM fields by switching their major to a non-STEM field (28 percent)” (Chen X 14). Many young people do not have enough experience and knowledge to know what jobs they want for the rest of their lives. Expec>ng them to select a degree in their late teens and comple>ng that same degree that they choose is unreasonable. People’s thought’s and views are always changing, especially in college. It would not be a good idea to force students down a degree path that they will most likely not want aPer their first year. The fact that GPS does not allow students to freely change their degree choices, instead giving advisors the power to veto their choice, can leave students with two bad op>ons: either drop out and re-enroll in another college, or complete a degree that the student has lost their passion for. GPS’s strict degree regula>ons leave students with op>ons that will hurt them in the near future. GPS goes on to focus on giving students block schedules, the example of a block schedule GPS likes to give is having eight am to noon classes five days a week. However, giving students such a lack of control and flexibility in their schedule will turn a lot of people off about the idea of a higher educa>on. Many members of working class families have very low risk tolerance. Risk tolerance is the maximum amount of uncertainty an individual is willing to accept when making a financial decision (Grable, and Joo n.p). College is expensive and >me consuming, and there is a big opportunity cost to choose to go to college rather than work more hours. The fact that people cannot tailor an educa>on plan and schedule that will fit into their hec>c lives will lower the number of female students, older students, and or nonwhite students, seeing as those are the demographics who have a lower risk tolerance (Grable, and Joo n.p). The commitment of going to college has a very big opportunity cost. Students of the working class will have to commit >me away from work and people that they are dependents for, in order to go to class and to study. Without a flexible educa>on plan and schedule, students are forced to schedule their lives around school, rather than schedule school around their lives. Even though GPS is trying to increase the risk tolerance for students, it’s forceful procedures end up lowering future student’s risk tolerance. Along with the strict schedule control, GPS’s surveillance also makes college even more stressful for students by forcing them to take at least 30 credits a year. The majority of the demographic of students that aSend community college are from working, mid to low class communi>es. “60% of community college students work 20+ hours a week” (Noren n.p). 30 credits every year is definitely impossible for a student to maintain good grades and s>ll be able to support themselves, and other dependents. Students will eventually be put off from schools that use the GPS system. GPS is supposed 20

to help students succeed, but it does not work with their personal situa>ons to develop a workable school schedule. GPS not only further stresses students out, but it hinders student’s future goals. GPS tries to give students degrees that “are tailored to produce graduates to fill high-demand careers, facilita>ng beSer coopera>on with the state’s business sector” (Complete College America). Instead of focusing on the student’s passions and interests, GPS will find degrees for students to fill specific needs for jobs. This can depress someone who is a student from the south who is interested in chemistry, but is swayed to get a design engineering degree because that is what is in need in the south at that moment. The GPS system thus turns every college that is associated with it into a community college, because the goal of a community college is to “develop a different type of curriculum suited to the larger and ever changing civic, social, religious, and voca>onal needs of the community in which the college is located” (Cohen, Arthur, and Brawer 4). Through their large array of data mining, GPS tries to use students to fulfill the needs of others, and the community rather than their educa>onal curiosity. Along with using students to fix the communi>es problems, GPS goes on to make graduates very dependent people. The constant surveillance and decision making for students, without the consent of students, makes them very dependent on a higher authority to make decisions for them. According to Harvard poli>cal science professor Harvey C. Mansfield “the purpose of educa>on is to make students feel capable and empowered” (Mansfield 2). But, GPS is doing the exact opposite. It is making students feel a lot less capable and empowered by not giving them the op>on to choose their own classes and >mes for classes. This can discourage students of the GPS system to not become high level decision making individuals, like CEOs or COOs. Not only will GPS damage student’s ability to learn from college, but it will also diminish their confidence to obtain high decision making careers. These intrusive and very guided forms of scheduling do not produce successful students. If it did, many of the most selec>ve schools in the country will employ GPS and or another college surveillance system, like Sky Factor. However, Barnard university, a highly selec>ve liberal arts school, employs tac>cs that are very different from GPS. Rather than keeping constant surveillance on student’s performance Barnard states in their core curriculum that Barnard is a place “where independent thinking is emphasized” (Barnard n.p). It also makes a note of tailoring a flexible class schedule for students. Barnard later goes on to state that for its requirements for comple>ng a major, a student must write a thesis that is of their “own design, synthesizing ideas while exploring [their] own original argument” (Barnard n.p). In order for a student to write an original argument it requires a large array of knowledge, not just specializa>on in one subject. GPS discourages this wide array of knowledge by purng students on very strict and exclusive path. If a students want to broaden their knowledge outside of the scope of their degree they will be discouraged to do so by their academic advisor. The GPS system thus goes on to have students that are only trained in understa>ng one type of subject, like biology, however they cannot develop any original and interes>ng thoughts on the topic of biology because they do not have any understanding of other issues that are not specifically about biology. GPS discourages having students be a jack of all traits, in favor of having calculated robots for students. This leads to students who can only think in one specific way, and not contribute any interes>ng or original ideas about a topic in discourse.


Not only will GPS make students less knowledgeable about a lot of topics, but it will dumb down universi>es and community colleges as well. Kennedy-King community college in Chicago employed a similar program like GPS, through doing so “Kennedy-King reduced the number of programs it offered… number of advisors quadrupled… and students were required to choose focus areas and develop a semester by semester plan for comple>on” (Bailey). Kennedy-King as a whole sacrificed programs that would help students understand different aspect of the world, in favor of more advisor to focus in on student’s performances and behaviors. Through these changes Kennedy-King’s “combined rate of gradua>on or transfer to a four-year college is 44 percent” which is beSer than the na>onal average; However, that is s>ll half of its students s>ll not gradua>on or transferring (Bailey n.p). It was also not noted if those gradua>ng students transferred or graduated with degrees that they wanted. The increase in student’s surveillance and decrease in course choices s>ll means that most of Kennedy-King’s students will not get any sort of college degree, or they may get a degree that they don’t want. These intrusive programs do not equate to smarter more competent graduates, at best these programs can only promise more transfers and graduates, but not beSer ones. This means that there will be many more job applicants, but a much lesser quality of job applicants. The GPS system takes the students choice of courses from them, and forces them on a path that benefits other people, and not the student. GPS collects data from students at the high school level, and recommends the college path they should take based on their high school records. Based on the type of high school they went to; they may be placed on paths for degree that offer no social class advancement. The fact that students won’t be given the ability to advance in social class will defer people away from colleges. The program also makes the false assump>on that college students know for sure what degree and careers they want to pursue. GPS also goes on to increase the opportunity cost of college by limi>ng students educa>on and schedule flexibility. The students that do con>nue on the college path will be stressed out because they will be forced to complete at least 30 credits a year, on top of any pervious responsibili>es they have. GPS also focuses on fulfilling the needs for jobs in the community, rather than focusing on growing the students’ knowledge so the student can accomplish their own personal goals. The constant decision making on the student’s behalf also turns students to very dependent and nonconfident adults. Also, GPS’s very exclusive list of courses for students cause students to not be very knowledgeable adults. They maybe experts in one field, but without a broad range of knowledge they cannot have very interes>ng ideas that advance discourse. These type of surveillance school system hurt students, rather than help them. They will not only produce high transfer student numbers, but high numbers of unhappy adults. Instead of these data mining surveillance systems to raise student’s success, schools should focus on beSer forms of teaching, like Mazur’s peer instruc>on (PI) style of teaching. PI is used by Harvard students, and it was shown to help students from other colleges gain a beSer understanding of difficult topics (Lasry, Mazur, and Watkins). A college is supposed to help its students become knowledgeable people, who using their knowledge they improve the world. However, if they cannot be trusted to control their own future how can they help improve the world? Works Cited Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work" Journal of Educa3on (1980):67-91 Web. 18 Feb. 2016. 22

Aries, Elizabeth, and Maynard Seider. The Role of Social Class in the Forma3on of Iden3ty: A Study of Public and Elite Private College Students. 2007.H[p:// Web. 26 Mar. 2016. Baily, Thomas, “Rethinking the ‘cafeteria’ Approach to Community College. Web. 05 April. 2016 Barnard-9-ways-Ir.pdf h[p:// Chen, X. (2013). STEM A[ri3on: College Students’ Paths Into and Out of STEM Fields (NCES 2014-001). Na3onal Center for Educa3on Sta3s3cs, Ins3tute of Educa3on Sciences, U.S. Department of Educa3on. Washington, DC. Cohen, Arthur M., and Florence B. Brawer. The American Community College. San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1982. Google scholar. 2003. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.eb. 9 Apr. 2016. Complete College America, 2009. 2009. Web. 3 May 2016. A m e r i c a . G u i d e d Pathways to Success. Washington D.C: Complete Grable, John E., and Soo-hymn Joo. "Factors Related to Risk Tolerance: A Further Examina>on." Consumer Interests Annual 45 (1999): 53-58. Web. 1 May 2016. Lasry, Nathaniel, Eric Mazur, and Jessica Watkins. "Peer Instruc>on: From Harvard to the Two-year College." American Associa>on of Physics Teachers. (2008): 1-4. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. Mansfield, Harvey C. "Grade Infla>on: It’s Time to Face the Facts." The Chronicle Review (2001): 1-4. Web. 27 Mar. 2016. Noren, Laura. “Demographics of Community Colleges in America.” 23 July 2012. Web. 8 May 2016 Warrell, Helen. "Students under Surveillance." 24 July 2015. April 24, 2016 from hSp://>cles/2014/07/09/racialprofiling- reported in-nsa-‡i-surveillance


The Favor of Success ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kevin Hite

Guided Pathways to Success is a program geared towards helping students succeed in higher educa>on by giving them a map to success by outlining courses needed to complete a degree in their desired field of study. Guided Pathways says that naviga>ng the complicated path through college is a difficult task for far too many, that all students need a step-by-step roadmap and intrusive guide that ensure on >me comple>on of courses, boos>ng a student’s opportunity to succeed, and simultaneously saving >me and money ( Community colleges and four-year universi>es across the na>on are adop>ng this program in an aSempt to lower the dropout rate, and to help students achieve their goal of succeeding in higher educa>on. However, several poten>al problems appear to arise from programs like Guided Pathways. If Guided Pathways was truly the “cure-all” to our society's stated problems, why has this program not been incorporated universally by all colleges, and how do the differences in the way colleges view success affect the quality of educa>on a student receives? Programs and policies like Guided pathways are primarily being developed for use in community colleges and universi>es which are geared toward students from low social economic status (SES), and this trend is not being followed by schools geared towards students from high SES. This varia>on in policy between schools raises some concerns; is the inten>on of programs like Guided Pathways actually to keep the low SES students from receiving the same educa>on as students from colleges that are highly esteemed such as Harvard or Yale? Is it possible that programs like Guided Pathways push differen>a>on for the giPed to the background, emphasizing uniformity, and crea>ng a cadre of paint-by-number teachers and cookie cuSer students (Pandina Scot, Callahan, Urquhart 1)? It is my opinion that this cookie cuSer approach in higher educa>on is nothing more than a one size fits all mold that is being applied to students from low SES with the end result being that of controlling the flow of knowledge to them. Thus, it becomes a con>nua>on of old prac>ces of segrega>on based this >me on economic status, instead of segrega>on based on race. Each year gradua>ng students compare colleges and universi>es to determine which school they would like to aSend. This decision is not made lightly and there are many variables and factors that play a role in which school the student ul>mately decides to aSend. Some of these factors include a student’s academic performance, the financial burden on a student’s family, and proximity of the school to the student’s home. As a result, our society has always been led to believe that these are the key issues that are a deciding factor in determining the path of higher educa>on a student will take. Children in our society are encouraged to dream big and do well because they have the opportunity to do anything or be anything they wish. So, what if this is not the case? What if there is really no choice at all and the schools offered to choose from are actually a list of those you are limited to? What if the quality of higher educa>on an individual receives is based on his/her SES and not their academic performance? Guided Pathways seems to be transforming community colleges into a barrier of sorts 24

limi>ng the knowledge that poor students have access to, meanwhile burdening those students with excessive debt and ensuring that the end result is no real opportunity to rise to a new social status. Research studies have shown that low SES students are at a dis>nct disadvantage when it comes to access to post-secondary educa>on and those that overcome the hurdles remain at a disadvantage with respect to staying enrolled and aSaining a degree (Choy xviii). On the surface, receiving a higher educa>on no maSer what the school’s name is, sounds like an awesome opportunity. It is possible that this opportunity may just be an illusion of equality to pacify those stuck on the lower rung of the social ladder, and that a majority of colleges are designed to teach students from low SES just enough to fill specific skilled posi>ons, again resul>ng in the loss of any real opportunity to advance socially. This invisible barrier may be evident by comparing two colleges: Macomb Community College and Barnard College. While both colleges claim to have the goal of helping students succeed, the true contrast is in the defini>on of what each school considers success. Macomb Community College ’s standards of measuring success seem to be limited to preparing a student for a career, community enrichment, lifelong learning, individual growth, and social advancement (MCC). On the contrary, Barnard College which is a private college states that their students will go on to change the world, will start and lead corpora>ons, make scien>fic discoveries, write cri>cally-acclaimed novels, develop na>onal policy, and transform their families and communi>es (Barnard). Both goals and visions of success are certainly posi>ve for those involved, but Barnard’s vision of success seems to reach for much higher goals than that of Macomb’s vision, and in the end, it is the pedagogy of the schools that truly sets the two colleges apart. Pedagogy is defined as the method and prac>ce of teaching and can be broken down into two categories: transmission and cri>cal. Macomb Community College embraces what is known as transmission pedagogy. Transmission pedagogy is a method of teaching that essen>ally considers the teacher as being a one way antenna, and transmiSer of knowledge. The teacher is to broadcast the knowledge to be learned and the student should memorize that shared knowledge. Barnard College on the other hand embraces the method of teaching known as cri>cal pedagogy. Cri>cal pedagogy is philosophy of educa>on that combines teaching and social movement with cri>cal theory. (Kincheloe). This method encourages student to think cri>cally about things they are taught, and teaches them that educa>on is a con>nuous process. According to Paulo Freire, a well-known scholar of cri>cal pedagogy whose ideas were further developed by Henry Giroux and others, this concept has become akin to an educa>onal movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take construc>ve ac>on (Giroux). One must agree that these are certainly good quali>es to have and should be taught to children from all social statuses. Unfortunately, again research has revealed this is not the case, and social status has played a large role in dicta>ng not only the method by which children in our society are taught, but may also determine the curriculum that children have access too. As noted by Jean Anyon, “aPer observing five elementary schools over the course of a year, fiPh graders from different economic statuses were already being prepared to occupy par>cular rungs on a social ladder (Anyon)”. Demonstra>ng that like community colleges, primary and secondary schools providing educa>on are designed to teach students of low SES in more of a voca>onal format. Whereas schools, especially privates ones, are geared towards 25

teaching students from a higher social status and tend to produce the next genera>on of business leaders, lawyers, doctors, and even poli>cians. These differences in educa>onal methods men>oned, share a dis>nct resemblance with discrimina>on prac>ces in used in American neighborhoods in the 1940’s, and that was a prac>ce that would become known as redlining (Karoub). In our country’s history, redlining has been used in different ways to discriminate against people considered to be from minority races by limi>ng the choice of homes they could purchase and denying specific services to those people. With the rapid change in technology over the past twenty years along with the ongoing push for equality, redlining has now been reborn in the digital age. Guided Pathways and other programs similar to it appear to be rekindling this prac>ce of discrimina>on and implemen>ng a segrega>on of knowledge in the educa>onal system nega>vely effec>ng students of low SES. This is being done by filtering and possibly limi>ng access to educa>onal programs and informa>on. Could programs like Guided Pathways actually be increasing the gap in knowledge between students of higher and lower SES? Perhaps Guided Pathways is giving an illusion of higher educa>on equality, while simultaneously crea>ng a new version of discrimina>on against students from low SES. Nonetheless, it must be noted that higher educa>on has not always been accessible to all in our society. Prior to World War II, higher educa>on was only available to the upper rung of the social ladder. Efforts to address these inequali>es were implemented, and in 1944 Congress approved the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act providing funding for veterans to aSend college and voca>onal schools. Later revisions were made to this program to include veterans from other wars, and eventually would include all veterans who served in our armed forces. Addi>onally, in 1960, in an effort to further address these social dispari>es means tested grants were introduced to help students from lower economic status to gain access to higher educa>on. This resulted in colleges experiencing a fiPy percent increase in enrollment between 1963 and 1968 with college enrollment numbers increasing by one hundred and fiPy percent from the pre-WWII levels (Reay, Davies, David, Ball 856). All of these changes were very posi>ve to people from lower income status because it increased the number of minority graduates and helped push them into higher economic class. However, with the advent of programs like Guided Pathways to Success, could exclusion and discrimina>on be once again limi>ng access to educa>on by narrowing the range of choices that students from lower social status have access to. One thing for certain, is that with the increase in the number of students seeking a college degree, and the fact that state and federal tax dollars combined to equal around $150 billion in 2015 (Fiscal), our higher educa>on system has become big business. Ul>mately, this leads us to another aspect of programs like Guided Pathways. Could the true intent of programs of this nature be to ensure a consistent flow of cash to schools that do liSle more than guide a student to a career that suits their posi>on on our society’s social ladder? In recent years, the effec>veness of our higher educa>on system has fallen under closer scru>ny as a result of both a federal government focus on accountability of higher educa>on ins>tu>ons and greater compe>>on for the state funds tradi>onally directed to colleges. To meet the requirements of the Student Right-to-Know (SRK) and Campus Security Act (1990), community colleges must collect and report transfer and gradua>on rates of first >me, full >me students (Bailey, Jenkins, LeinBach). This data is then used to measure the college’s effec>veness, and thus far this data has shown actual comple>on rates for community colleges are very low. As a maSer of fact, more than half the students enrolling into 26

community colleges eventually leave without a degree. Based on this informa>on, might programs like Guided Pathways be ac>ng as a hostess of sorts, en>cing and encouraging students to stay longer and thereby con>nuing the flow of needed funds to community colleges? Perhaps it is safe to speculate that without the promise of more money from federal grants and student loans, programs like Guided Pathways would not even exist. Finally, Guided Pathways ini>ally may have been developed and designed with good inten>ons, but it seems to be that programs like this are shrouded in a veil of failures due to past ins>tu>onal prac>ces, in the end leaving individuals from low SES with the feeling they were being led down a dead end path, or no path at all. However, the overall progress made in expanding access to higher educa>on should not be ignored or dismissed. It is essen>al that this access be untainted with the ul>mate goal of closing the gap between students of differing social status, not maintaining that gap. Student’s choices should not be limited for profit, but expanded to give them more access to programs, regardless of the cost. Mar>n Luther King, Jr. stated it best, “The func3on of educa3on is to teach one to think intensively and to think cri3cally. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true educa3on.” Thus, redlines whether digital or not need to be erased, and as a whole we must end the segrega>on of knowledge.

Works Cited <> Pandina Scot, Tammy, Carolyn M. Callahan, and Jill Urquhart. "Paint-by-number teachers and cookie cu[er students: The unintended effects of high-stakes tes3ng on the educa3on of gihed students." Roeper Review 31.1 Choy, Susan P. "Students Whose Parents Did Not Go to College: Postsecondary Access, Persistence, and A[ainment." (2008): 40-52. Macomb Community College < hSp:// Barnard, Barnard College < hSp://>. Kincheloe, Joe; Steinburg, Shirley (1997). Changing Mul>culturalism, Bristol, PA. Open University Press. p. 24. Cri3cal pedagogy is the term used to describe what emerges when cri3cal theory encounters educa3on. Giroux, H. (October 27, 2010) "Lessons From Paulo Freire", Chronicle of Higher Educa3on. Retrieved 10/20/10. Anyon, J., Social Class and School Knowledge, Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 11, No. 1. (Spring, 1981), pp. 3-42, Accessed May 1, 2016. Karoub, Jeff Associated Press. "Wall That Once Divided Races in Detroit Remains, Teaches." USA Today. GanneS, 2013. Accessed May 5, 2016. <hSp://>


Fiscal Federalism Ini>a>ve. "Federal and State Funding of Higher Educa>on: A Changing Landscape." Federal and State Funding of Higher Educa3on: A Changing Landscape. 11 June 2015. Web. 07 May 2016. Reay, D., Davies, J; David, M; Ball, S.J. "Choices of degree or degrees of choice? Class,â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;raceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and the higher educa3on choice process." Sociology 35.04 (2001): 855-874.


Mapping the Pathway ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Felicia Mercurio

Imagine a giant map of an exo>c island. On this map, however, there are no landmarks, ci>es, or compass charts available. Without proper guidance or direc>on, that map would be completely useless to the person naviga>ng. College is the same way for many students. It is full of opportuni>es and experiences wai>ng to be explored. But, if students do not have proper guidance or a direc>on to follow, they will end up lost and going nowhere. We have clearly seen that happening in many schools today. Students are taking too many credits that do not count toward their degree. This prac>ce results in students dropping out of classes, losing money, and not even gradua>ng on >me, let alone at all. Not only does it affect students, but taxpayers are covering the bill for more than $9 billion at four year universi>es and almost $4 billion at two year colleges (Complete College America- Game Changers). In order to prevent this from happening, Macomb, as well as other colleges and universi>es, has adopted Guided Pathways to Success program. Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) is trying to fix this problem by providing a pre-determined path for the student from enrollment to gradua>on day. The student selects the program, and GPS will map out the courses semester by semester. It slowly narrows down to a specific degree based on skills, interests, and informa>on from academic records (Complete College America- Game Changers). This project does not allow degree switches without consul>ng a counselor and fully recognizing the consequences involved (Complete College America- Game Changers). Guided Pathways can also make sure the student is doing well in school by monitoring. The most no>ceable part of Guided Pathways, however, is the student monitoring program. By monitoring student data, progress, and behavior, the college will be alerted with a warning system that a student is in need of an interven>on. GPS has proved successful. In states like New York, Florida, and Georgia, gradua>on and college reten>on rates are increasing (Complete College America- Strategies). Many other programs are devoted to helping students through monitoring, such as Skyfactor and CourseSmart by Pearson (Warrell). However, such surveillance oPen goes unexamined. Organiza>ons such as Common Cause, an organiza>on focused on students’ privacy, are rela>vely few. The surveillance with GPS will affect students beyond the classroom if it is not controlled and liSle pieces of it will run freely in everyday aspects of life. However, most are content to say that such programs help students stay in school, so of course monitoring should be used. It is necessary to read the fine print in order to figure out how these monitoring systems could do more harm than good to students specifically, those at community colleges who are being thrown down a monitored “path” and being told it will lead to success. In this case, the defini>on of success is a 2.0 GPA or higher, or the fact that a student reenrolled for another year of school.


Monitoring through technology is very common in our society. It can be found in the workplace as computer-based monitoring that is, “the prac>ce of collec>ng performance informa>on on employees through the computers they use at work” (George 459). It is being done to us every >me we Google a word or click Facebook ar>cles. We are then shown the search results based on monitored search history, previously viewed links, interests, and friends. Companies are obtaining data about the user to create selec>ons specifically tailored to him or her. The same thing can poten>ally happen with the data collected about students. The data taken from students is going to vary from different colleges. We have discussed that different socioeconomic classes tend to go to certain kinds of colleges. It is noted, “Students from higher-income families are significantly more likely than those from lower-income families to aSend college, par>cularly four-year colleges” (Haveman and Smeeding). It was also noted that over the years, more students from lower-income families have been going into postsecondary twoyear ins>tu>ons (Haveman and Smeeding). Even though students will aSend many colleges, student monitoring will enable colleges to easily group students by socioeconomic classes which will reflect in the monitored student data. That will create a standardized “pathway” students in that class should take. The data provided will reflect student’s class consciousness. Students from each socioeconomic class already have a corresponding network they fit into. They are all raised with different expecta>ons based how their parents were raised. This class consciousness defines us: it is the framework that organizes our seemingly individual sense of reality. This mindset is not natural or correct. We each have the freedom to make choices and pursue a different path. However different socioeconomic classes follow their influenced class consciousness. It reflects into the educa>onal paths that are deemed correct or proper from what has been told to them. This is not because the person is not aspiring for more, striving in school, or is abandoning higher level goals. Rather, it is what he or she believes is aSainable, will provide security, and is relevant to their situa>on (Agnew 450). The monitored data GPS collects will give a path that reinforces the class consciousness in that student and restricts him or her from pursuing something that may not “match” to their class. That will result in a reinforced class bias from higher socioeconomic classes, and will affect how that student is viewed beyond the college campus. Jean Anyon describes the hidden curriculum behind educa>on given in the different social classes. She built upon the wri>ngs of other scholars to show that “knowledge and skills leading to social power and reward are made available to the advantaged social groups but are withheld from the working classes, to whom a more ‘prac>cal’ curriculum is offered” (Anyon 67). This “prac>cal” kind of curriculum is teaching a student a specific kind of way to think. The surveyors observed five different schools classified by working class, middle class, Affluent Professional, and Execu>ve Elite. Anyon noted that in the working class schools, no effort was made to teach the children how math skills, for example, relate to other skills. It was similar to just being a procedure. As she puts it, “The procedure is usually mechanical, involving rote behavior and very liSle decision” (Anyon 73). There was also no conceptualiza>on or aSempt for students explaining the process themselves (Anyon 74). The middle class schools were beSer and as the social class rose, more cri>cal thinking skills and self-explana>ons were taught to young students. If there is no control over GPS and student monitoring, the program will start branching out beyond the college campuses and monitoring students in high schools and elementary schools and the hidden curriculum.


Above is a perfect example of the hidden curriculum and how the teachers were teaching thinking skills. Note how the working class school was like a machine. That machine is pumping out children to just follow and believe whatever they are being told. I am not saying it is bad to follow direc>ons and obey instruc>ons. However, those children are going to grow into adults with the same mindset. To them, that logic is not wrong because that is the way things have always been done. They are unknowingly acceptant of that placement because of their class consciousness. The working class consciousness is to shut-up, follow what has been told, and work. That will result of a new batch of working class students monitored since elementary being more accep>ng of GPS in college. They will not ques>on the higher powers and will fall into the monitored placement process. We need to remember each student’s mindset, belief system, and capabili>es. On top of this, monitored students have already been labeled by the college they may have aSended or graduated from. The kind of college a person aSends and that college’s mission, which usually promotes the class consciousness of the popula>on it serves, will make a huge difference in financial and occupa>onal opportuni>es. Research shows that, “at college level, differences in the types of ins>tu>ons aSended have significant effects in life>me earning paSerns of students” (Wachtel and Solmon 76). The occupa>onal opportuni>es and financial paSerns will be a result of the monitored path the student takes. The schools that do use Guided Pathways may end up having their students make less than those colleges and universi>es that don’t. The occupa>onal flexibility may be restricted as well since that student was restricted, monitored, and not able to expand their abili>es more than they were allowed. Students tend to choose their colleges based on socioeconomic class differences. These class differences become clearer when we compare a highly selec>ve ins>tu>on to a community college, for example, the pres>gious women’s college Barnard. “Women’s colleges offer students an educa>onal environment qualita>vely different from the coeduca>onal experience” (Langdon 6). They are also believed to be an essen>al part of the higher educa>on system (Langdon 6). There is a great amount of informa>on available which agrees that women colleges have a direct, posi>ve impact on the students that aSend there (Smith, Wolf, and Morrison 246). There will be a huge difference in a graduate from a school like Barnard, in comparison to a Macomb Community College graduate. I do not want to say or make it sound as though the community college students are beneath or “second best” to the highly selec>ve schools, but these students have different mindsets due to the college’s goals. They enter with a different class consciousness, and their educa>on embodies interdisciplinary ques>ons, cri>cal thinking, and a broad range of ac>vi>es that are not part of community colleges. The two types of schools are different because they each serve a different class. The student surveillance system will is designed to monitor a student and give that him or her a path which will accurately reflect the student’s class. A community college like Macomb, on the other hand, has several goals that differ from schools like Barnard. Some of the goals of Barnard are to, “go on to start and lead corpora>ons, make scien>fic discoveries, write cri>cally-acclaimed novels, develop na>onal policy, transform their families and communi>es, and more” (Barnard). Macomb has the goal of adding to the workforce in southeast Michigan; it accomplishes this by having fewer educa>on requirements for enrollment. When the two are side by side, it is easy to see they are en>rely different kinds of schools. Each school is designed to


produce a certain kind of graduate. That is why the students who aSend different types of colleges will have different financial poten>al. A study done with World War II veterans proved this point. The extra years aSended at schools will result in extra payoff, but this is shown more effec>vely at research ins>tu>ons and highly selec>ve liberal arts colleges (Solmon and Wachtel 87). In one study, the type of school is influen>al because it showed doctors who graduated from highly selec>ve colleges had the largest increment in earnings and lawyers that aSended a comprehensive school with substan>al programs did best (Solmon and Wachtel 87). However, when a lawyer aSended that school where the doctors did well, he was in a lower earning group. The same situa>on happened to doctors that aSended a school where the lawyer was earning more. (Solmon and Wachtel 88). Just as these schools played a role in what their students ended up making, GPS will have an even greater effect. Two students can go to different colleges, take the same classes, and get the same degree. Their choices are monitored and they are surveyed beyond the classroom. The collected data will be used to place future students down a specific financial path as well Occupa>onal achievements will also be different between a community college and four-year ins>tu>on. Zwerling explains, “community college nega>vely affects adult socioeconomic achievement by depressing educa>onal aSainment” (quoted in Monk Turner 720). The fact that someone went to community college is nega>ve because of the preconceived ideas and drop-out sta>s>cs associated with it. “Zwerling es>mates that approximately half of all community college students drop out of college by the end of their first year, and 75 percent have dropped out by the end of their second year” (MonkTurner 720). In 1960, Clark thought that community college is a place for “those who are not perceived as college material” (quoted in Monk-Turner 720). My personal favorite is the offensive idea many believe. This idea is that community college students are, “less mo>vated, less talented, less educable, and to have a poorer socioeconomic status than four-year college entrants” (quoted in Monk-Turner 720). There is a preset prejudice against the working classes, which tend to choose community colleges. The class-based monitoring will just increase that distain and judgment. It will in turn harm networking possibili>es for those having involvement with community colleges. Standardized tests affect different socioeconomic classes either posi>vely or nega>vely (Saks 27). Tests and studies done in this area have shown that students with educated parents having high income tend to do beSer on standardized tests than others whose parents are not educated and have a low income (Saks 27). Informa>on from students’ past educa>onal history is already being monitored. There will be a higher power with control of that cri>cal informa>on. They will excuse the monitoring methods, which may turn into constant surveillance by jus>fying it for the sake of educa>on. Not just the lower socioeconomic classes, but the higher ones as well. The cover-up would be the standardized tests as an excuse to collect data. With the push for more standardized tes>ng in educa>on, GPS would have more data on students. This tes>ng can also result in discouragement for young students who are considering going to college. The last thing students already facing educa>onal and socioeconomic challenges need is a test telling them they have liSle to no chance of success. Guided Pathways would then be useless, because that test alone would chase away poten>al students. In the discussion of Macomb and other community colleges adop>ng the Guided Pathways to success program, GPS will collect data from those working class students. The students will aSend different kinds of colleges due to their social class as was earlier discussed. It will then place them on a 32

“path” that is believed to be relevant to their class. Once again, this is not because the person is not aspiring for more, not striving in school, or is abandoning higher level goals. It is because that is what he or she believes is aSainable, provides security, and they see it as relevant to their situa>on (Agnew 450). As a result of this socioeconomic belief, Guided Pathways will easily label and place students in a network that limits them to achieve only what is deemed “acceptable” to their class. Guided Pathways will be able to easily reinforce this idea through “redlining.” Redlining was most commonly seen in the 1900’s with the spike in immigra>on. Amy Hiller focuses on the fact that mortgages on houses and proper>es were redlined so that certain ethnic groups or those in poverty could not live there (quoted in DeBats and Gregory 458). The redlined areas were considered “residen>al security zones” and it was done to prevent perceived problems associated with those groups (DeBats and Gregory 458). As a result, those groups were limited to live in their own areas with their own “kind.” Obviously that is illegal now, but redlining has shown up in technology under a slightly different name, digital redlining. Digital redlining allows only certain kinds of students to have access to certain kinds of informa>on. An example of this is a Macomb student’s use of the online scholarly database, JSTOR. That student does not have 100 percent access to everything, but only what he or she is allowed to have access to. My claim is that Guided Pathways will use the consequences of digitally redlined student data and end up placing students into the career paths that reinforce class boundaries and biases. This requires several systems of surveillance, and GPS adds a layer of digital surveillance that seems consciously designed to limit the op>ons of working class students. Guided Pathways will use student data and place students onto a career path based on socioeconomic class. It will be easy to gather data because each class has a different mindset that reflects their thinking, work choices, and the type of school they choose to aSend. On top of that, the informa>on made available to students is digitally redlined, so one’s op>ons are limited. Programs like GPS take our data and give us what they believe relevant to our class. We are unknowingly acceptant of it because of our class consciousness. In the end, they believe that pathway will lead a student to the GPS version of “success.” The higher power of GPS will be above us, pull all the strings, and set limits on what can be achieved. The goal is to achieve success. That word has been an underlying theme throughout the semester. It can be related to everyone by saying, “What every man [sic] most desires is to be successful. What puzzles most of humanity is how to do it” (Pearse 46). Pearse then quotes a psychologist, Professor Witmer, saying that success is, “what the individual himself [sic] deems worthwhile” (Pearse 46). As humans, we each have our own desires for “success” because we are each different. If one’s expecta>on for success is different from the expecta>on Guided Pathways gives, are they then deemed unsuccessful? My answer is no. We do not need our every choice monitored in order to be successful.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. “Social class and the hidden curriculum of work”. The Journal of Educa3on 162.1 (1980): 67–92. Web.13 April. 2016 hSp:// 33

"APer Barnard." Home. Barnard College. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. hSp:// "Complete College America » Strategies." Complete College America » Strategies. Complete College America, 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016. hSp:// "Complete College America » The Game Changers." Complete College America » The Game Changers. Complete College America, 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. hSp:// DeBats, Donald A., and Ian N. Gregory. “Introduc>on to Historical GIS and the Study of Urban History”. Social Science History 35.4 (2011): 455–463. Web. hSp:// George, Joey F.. “Computer-based Monitoring: Common Percep>ons and Empirical Results”. MIS Quarterly 20.4 (1996): 459–480. Web. hSp:// Haveman, Robert, and Timothy Smeeding. "The Future of Children, Princeton - Brookings: Providing Research and Analysis to Promote Effec>ve Policies and Programs for Children." - The Future of Children -. Princeton and Booking, 2006. Web. 19 Apr. 2016. hSp:// /publica>ons/journals/ar>cle/index.xml? journalid=35&ar>cleid=90&s Langdon, Emily A.. “Women's Colleges Then and Now: Access Then, Equity Now”. Peabody Journal of Educa3on 76.1 (2001): 5–30. Web. 3 April 2016 hSp:// Monk-Turner, Elizabeth. “The Occupa>onal Achievements of Community and Four-year College Entrants”. American Sociological Review 55.5 (1990): 719–725. Web. 13 April. 2016 hSp:// Pearse, A. S.. “Success”. The Scien3fic Monthly 23.1 (1926): 46–49. Web. hSp:// Robert S. Agnew. “Social Class and Success Goals: An Examina>on of Rela>ve and Absolute Aspira>ons”. The Sociological Quarterly 24.3 (1983): 435–452. Web. 13 April. 2016 hSp:// Sacks, Peter. “Standardized Tes>ng: Meritocracy's Crooked Yards>ck”.Change 29.2 (1997): 24–31. Web. 17 February. 2016 hSp:// Solmon, Lewis C., and Paul Wachtel. “The Effects on Income of Type of College ASended”. Sociology of Educa3on 48.1 (1975): 75–90. Web. 13 April. 2016 hSp:// Warrell, Helen. "Students under Surveillance -" Financial Times. Financial Times Ltd, 24 July 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. hSp://


Guided Pathways to Success or to Control? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Manella Sadikovic

“Naviga>ng the complicated path through college is a difficult task for far too many. All students need step-by-step roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on — saving >me and money — and significantly boos>ng their success” (GPS 1). This asser>on may be black and white, but what is the gray area between the lines? Guided Pathways claims to be the quickest way to success in educa>on, but does its version of “success” need more careful assessment? We can begin this assessment by asking which socio economic class this program is really for. Is it stopping lower class students from reaching their poten>al? Should students constantly be watched and surveilled from morning to night or even while they sleep while in a program? When students begin the program, they pick a major, and all of the minimum basic classes are set up for them. Guided Pathways claims to have “intrusive guidance” that implies a sugges>on towards a major although it seems that it’s really more of a forced “recommenda>on.” It focuses on keeping the students on the program’s defini>on of an educa>onal goal. Again, their idea of goals and success needs more aSen>on. Guided Pathways is forming a controlling educa>onal system by forcing students to take courses that are only in their major’s curricula, by making block schedules, and by pushing students to take 15 credits a semester (GPS 1). Nothing will be possible that dis>nguishes an individual student from the general case; the students can only be ordinary. This program constrains students from being able to go above and beyond their poten>al in educa>on and careers. On top of the poten>al in educa>on and careers, there is unspoken agenda to Guided Pathways: social class. The program does not serve students and their success as much as it serves the ins>tu>ons that implement it. These ins>tu>ons include community colleges and the founda>ons that promote the program, ins>tu>ons such as the Lumina Founda>on and Gates Founda>on. Their values are based on earning money, company control, and socio economic status division. All of these con>nue to be another component in maintaining social class differences. Social class differences are a hidden aspect to Guided Pathways due to how it makes false assump>ons about the students within a par>cular social class. Long ago, Jean Anyon's "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work” noted that the K-12 educa>on being provided to American students is based on their social classes, and I would argue that the same is true of post-secondary educa>on. Each school or university is set out to help students accomplish different goals. “Students in different socialclass backgrounds are rewarded for classroom behaviors that correspond to personality traits allegedly rewarded in the different occupa>onal strata--the working classes for docility and obedience, the managerial classes for ini>a>ve and personal asser>veness” (Anyon). Certain social groups stay with the same social network and this network blocks the input and output informa>on to other groups of people. Guided Pathways enforces these networks by keeping them invisible to a specific class of students: working class students at community colleges because, aPer all, the program is mostly aimed at them.


The opportuni>es to use big data in higher educa>on can either produce or prevent discrimina>on—the same technology that can help iden>fy and serve students who are more likely to be in need of extra help can also be used to deny admissions or other opportuni>es based on the very same characteris>cs. Ins>tu>ons could also deny students from low-income families, or other students who face unique challenges in gradua>ng, the financial support that they deserve or need to afford college ( The working class receives an educa>on that glorifies obedience and the upper class receives an educa>on that glorifies ini>a>ve. This program seems to be focusing on the lower socio economic class rather than the high social class as well. A student is in control of her or his own future in educa>on and a specific program should not be in control of their future. Once again, a factor that has nothing to do with educa>onal abili>es is used to separate groups of students to promote their defini>on of success. “Knowledge and skills leading to social power and rewards are made available to the advantaged social groups but are withheld from the working classes, to whom a more “prac>cal” curriculum is offered” (Anyon). When students go through the Guided Pathways program, they do not see that there are other alterna>ves. Most of the students who go to community colleges are a part of the working class. The students who are a part of this are usually working at least 30 hours a week trying to fund for their school and for their educa>on. For these students, the outcomes of educa>on are heavily dependent on the circumstances of their lives. For example, the single mother may urgently need a job, the returning veteran may need to rebuild a social network, and the typical students juggles a 30 hour work week (Bailey) with school. All want to graduate, but they have different ideas about the meaning of “success.” What is “success?” Its meaning seems to be different for every individual. With GPS, students are given a path that they need to follow to get a degree in a >mely manner. But with GPS, students are limited in what they can or cannot take, purng them in a “bubble” of their own educa>on. This will cause students to never venture outside of their given pathway (Bailey). Students will just do what they are told to get a degree, but what if they want to see what else is out there? “As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to informa>on that could challenge or broaden our worldview” (Pariser). Pariser’s “The Filter Bubble” gave a new outlook on the way the internet is stopping us from seeing certain things and gerng certain informa>on. Making informa>on invisible and inaccessible is the new form of redlining. Redlining was a term coined in the 1960s to describe the prac>ce of denying or charging more for service to persons in certain communi>es—usually Black, inner-city neighborhoods—no maSer how qualified the individual. The term originated since banks—then the most infamous perpetrators—would draw a red line on a map to delineate the areas they would not serve (Prince). “For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obliga>ons not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business, it is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of informa>on — whether a phone call, or a packet of data” (Prince) .This now opens the window to a bigger issue within today’s educa>on system, digital redlining or electronic redlining. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the fight moved to the telephone industry—people in poor and minority communi>es were either not being connected, were gerng inferior service or were paying for advanced services such as call wai>ng, call forwarding and 36

three-way calling though they were oPen the last to receive the actual connec>ons. The poor quality of service was par>cularly detestable, many experts and advocates said, since Blacks and La>nos were generally spending more on telephone services than Whites (Prince). It was only a maSer of >me that today’s technologies were built. Today we have cell phones that talk to us, computers and televisions that are touch screen, and cars that can park themselves. This brings up the big discussion about the differences between “public” and “private”. Did you know that once you throw your trash to the curb it’s considered public property? Once it’s out there anyone can do anything with it. They can count the number of plas>c boSles you forgot to toss in the recycling bin; they can see that you don’t eat organic fruits and vegetables, or maybe that you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan like them and go and blog about it to the world with your name and your address from what they collected in the “public” trash. People don’t see privacy as being the control of informa>on. They don’t see the “solu>on” to privacy being access-control lists or other technical mechanisms of limi>ng who has access to informa>on. Instead, they try to achieve privacy by controlling the social situa>on. To do so, they struggle with their own power in that situa>on (Boyd). Privacy issues all began with teenagers when mom said “let me see your phone,” or “who are you talking to.” The issues began to grow as these kids became students. With taking a walk back into history, in 1974 a legisla>on called the Family Educa>onal Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was passed; this restricted what schools could do with student data. There are differences in who can access what data, under which circumstances. This is the very essence of power and the core of why concepts like “surveillance” maSer. Surveillance isn’t simply the all-being all-looking eye. It’s a mechanism by which systems of power assert their power. And it is why people grow angry and distrus•ul. Why they throw fits over being experimented on. Why they cry privacy foul even when the content being discussed is, for all intents and purposes, public (Boyd). The word privacy seems to have a vague descrip>on to many, especially new companies for surveillance. A new program for surveillance was introduced to the United States as colleges and universi>es wanted to beSer themselves and be the highest ranked. “In the US, the concept has progressed even further: two years ago, an Ivy League ins>tu>on, Dartmouth College, trialled an app installed on students’ mobile phones which tracks how long they spend working, socializing, exercising and sleeping. GPS technology follows their loca>ons around campus to work out their ac>vi>es, while a listening func>on tunes into the noise level around the phone to detect whether its owner is conversing or sleeping. Once analyzed by the lab, the informa>on is used to understand how behavior affects grades, and to tailor feedback on how students can improve their results” (Warrell). A Student monitoring service known as Skyfactor adver>ses itself as being able to help academics by seeing which students need aSen>on and resources. When asking the owner of this company his opinion on the privacy factor of this program, he states that the informa>on is “being used for the greater good, which is beSer educa>on for everybody” (Warrell). Not only does this program track the students, it tracks the effec>veness of their tutors, and how well each school is compared with another. The computer science professor who ran the study on this at Dartmouth, Campbell, admits that the study involved a “very invasive form of monitoring”, which required oversight by Dartmouth’s CommiSee for the Protec>on of Human Subjects (Boyd). Before beginning the trial, he had to assure the commiSee that the students’ privacy would be protected, and their data anonymized. But he insists that 37

those who signed up to be tested did so because they had a real interest in how their behavior was affec>ng their grades (Warrell). Many of Campbell’s findings were unsurprising to many people, including myself as I con>nued to read: more conscien>ous students did beSer, as did those who had high levels of class aSendance. Less predictable to me was that students who pushed and tried harder towards the end of term did beSer than others who tried to do their best in the beginning or just merely gave up in the end. The highest achievers tended to party harder early in the semester, then change their artudes on the semester once midterms came. Many others had concerns about the way that privacy is being invaded within these studies. However, the fact that the study was at an Ivy League school does not show that class is not important. The study was to track upper class students and make sure that they performed upper class behaviors. The issue is that these tracking programs have a hidden set of values that are not recognized. Asking ques>ons about their rela>onship to class needs is part of cri>cal thinking. Dr Bart Rien>es, a learning analy>cs expert who helped design the OU’s monitoring programs, admits some individuals remain very concerned about the idea of their online behavior being tracked (Warrell). On the other hand, he says: “Those who fell by the wayside were surprised that we weren’t using their informa>on to help them.” Rien>es says it is only by using data that universi>es can tackle the “one size fits all” approach that has historically benefited students from higher-income families. “Students from par>cular socio-economic backgrounds or students from par>cular ethnic backgrounds are poten>ally more at risk than others. Being open to all students means looking at how we provide learning environments that meet not just the needs of middle-class England” (Warrell). APer the survey was taken, it showed that students were reluctant to make their data available due to fears about how they would be judged. Those polled said they did not mind their data being anonymized as part of a study of their whole cohort, but said they didn’t want their lecturers to know that they personally had logged on to the network two minutes before an assignment was due to be handed in, that they read their ebooks late at night or that they were not engaging with their discussion forums (Warrell). Some kind of restric>on is necessary to the crea>on of any kind of educa>on, whether it is cri>cal or not. Many K-12 schools and universi>es seem to block out some informa>on on certain subjects, which I myself have been a vic>m of. When doing research papers at college levels many different subjects are thrown towards us that we can pick our topic on. If a student did a research paper on E. E. Cummings, should certain websites containing porn pop up, and blocked websites pop up so that a student can’t con>nue research? If a student was doing a paper on Moby Dick, should the same thing happen to them? No, it shouldn’t. When I was a vic>m of this in my school, I was lucky enough to be able to go home and use my home computer to finish research because I was stopped from fulfilling my requirements in school and even at the library. Filtering out to fit our needs is acceptable, but when universi>es take it to another level and block out informa>on for educa>onal purposes, that’s when things go too overboard. The ques>on that rises with that is how do we not only transmit knowledge and skills, but also teach a kind of cri>cal skep>cism that makes us keep going forward within our educa>on. Types of educa>onal ins>tu>ons cannot be separated from class structures. The class we are born into is the class we will be treated like un>l we make a name for ourselves. This con>nues to raise the ques>on about social mobility, jus>ce and moral obliga>on to enable others to recognize the limit to which they are not 38

free. Guided Pathways and a few of the other programs men>oned are ones that illustrate this issue in American educa>on.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and School Knowledge." Curriculum Inquiry 11.1 (1981): 3. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. Bailey, Thomas. "Rethinking the 'cafeteria' Approach to Community College." Washington Post. The Washington Post. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. Boyd, Danah. “What is Privacy? The Message” Medium. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. Boyd, Danah. "Which Students Get to Have Privacy? - The Message." Medium. 2015. Web. 02 May 2016. "Complete College America » Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) Ins>tute." Complete College America » Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) Ins>tute. Web. 01 May 2016. Fitzgerald, Bill. "Get Bite-Sized PD." Graphite. Web. 22 Apr. 2016. Prince. "Is Digital Redlining Causing Internet Caste System?" Afro. 2015. Web. 04 May 2016. "The White House." The White House. The White House, 2015. Web. 07 May 2016. Warrell, Helen. "Students under Surveillance -" Financial Times. Web. 03 May 2016.


Guiding Wrong Ways ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jenna NoSle

Guided Pathways to Success(GPS) is a program used in many colleges and universi>es. This program is different from the cafeteria approach by many community colleges because the cafeteria approach is “complex, disorientated, and disconnected” (Baily). The cafeteria effect can be frustra>ng and confusing for students to pick classes and develop a field of study. Guided Pathways is a program that uses data to match a student to a direct field or path that fits them. It is a “step-by-step roadmap [with] intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on- saving >me and money- and significantly boos>ng their success” (Guided Pathways to Success). This program guides students with the correct courses to take and when to take them. Guided Pathways emphasizes the reality that goes through a student’s mind. A college student doesn’t want to waste money on unnecessary credits, wants to graduate on >me, and wants to graduate with a degree in her or his field of interest. Guided Pathways makes all the nega>ves and stress that comes with college not happen. This program makes a student’s life easier. Guided Pathways may seem like it is a successful program, but with every successful program, there are always flaws. Students are oblivious to the hidden problems of Guided Pathways because they only see the posi>ve points that Guided Pathways presents. Students are unable to see the problems that Guided Pathways employs on educa>on, social class, and privacy. It is important to be aware of the consequences of this program. One of these consequences is surrendering student’s data to third par>es. Data is a huge aspect to Guided Pathways because it runs the whole program. Guided Pathways gathers larger amounts of data from many different sources. These sources that run Guided Pathways are test scores, high school grades, courses that were already taken. “This en>re enterprise operates on one very powerful currency: data. Without the data, the machine ceases to operate” (Johnson). This program is able to put a college student on a pathway that best fits them and represents them with a students provided data. It is en>rely in control of picking a pathway. Guided Pathway makes the decision of a career choice for the student based on this data. This pathway represents a student and is able to put that student one step closer to their future career. However, all this data must be collected. The only way to collect data is to invade a student’s privacy. By invading a student’s privacy, Guided Pathways is able to have access to any and all the informa>on about a student. Guided Pathways is able to know everything about a student based on the data they collect. Like most educa>on reforms, it affects students who do not have a choice and do not have power on whether or not their privacy gets invaded. “Even though this is all about the students, they don’t actually have a lot of power in any of these bills. It is all a ques>on of who can speak on their behalf and who is supposed to protect them from the evils of the world” (Boyd). A student has to allow Guided Pathways to have access to all their data or else a pathway will not be provided for them. These students do not have the power of protec>ng their data.


They have to trust the security of their data in Guided Pathways. It is also a concern of security measures of Guided Pathways because it is not stated how reliable the safety of the program is. In today’s technology filled world, it is easy to have informa>on and data all in one database. Every fact, interest, test score, etc. about a student is all put into one program. This program is able to have access to go into a file and to use it. “Technology will save us, but it will ruin us” (Gannon). The world today struggles with security and having protec>on. Hacking has become a large problem that most people are unaware of. With all a student’s informa>on in one spot, it is easy for hackers to obtain every drop of informa>on about a student. Hackers can do many different effects to data by changing or dele>ng grades or test scores, which will completely alter the data for a students Guided Pathway. Hackers, unfortunately, can also steal a student’s data. Privacy with data is a never-ending problem. Security with data needs to be highly enforced because data that is altered or even stolen does not represent a student. Social class has become a hidden aspect to Guided Pathways. It is hidden because it is not spoken in the words. Guided Pathways collects huge amounts of academic data, but this data can also have personal factors to them. Guided Pathways is able to have access to data such as a student’s name, address, interests, personality, and many more. By finding out a student’s address explains where a student lives, allowing others to see that a student was raised in the lower social class or the upper social class. Also, an address can show where a student went to school. Students in a lower social class are not able to have the same resources that a student in the upper class has. The upper class tends to have more resources and beSer opportuni>es than the lower class. The upper class has well qualified teachers while the lower class students have “teachers [who] rarely explain why the work is being assigned, how it might connect to other assignments, or what the idea that lies behind the procedure” (Anyon). This contributes to the different thinking in each social class. The upper social class is beSer able to expand learning and to con>nue to think outside the box, while the lower class in unable to have and oPen lacks this kind of thinking. These students “don’t know how to learn, they only know how to be taught” (Caruth). Students in the lower class are not being taught the most beneficial way to think by teachers, but they think it is the right way for them because they don’t know any different way to be taught. The lower class is limited with their thinking based on the types of teachers giving the informa>on. “The beSer the teacher performs the more students will learn” (Elmose). Being able to be taught how to think in new ways will help a student learn. Students in the upper class have an advantage over the lower class with their teachers. The upper class teachers are able to distribute informa>on in a more complex way, which will make thinking and learning different. The different thinking in each social class contributes to the different data that Guided Pathways receives. Each student will be provided a different pathway based on the complexity of the results of data. Unfortunately, the data in each social class will effect the pathway chosen because of the way informa>on was taught. The data that is given to Guided Pathways can show what classes a student took in high school. Every high school is different and it is especially different in the lower and upper social classes. Students from the lower class would generally encounter more problems than the upper class, which would include not being able to have classroom essen>als. “These schools are less equipped with technological and scien>fic apparatuses, as well as fundamental essen>als such as textbooks” (Vejar). Lower class 41

schools struggle with being able to have to same resources as the upper class. Upper class schools have an advantage over the lower class with having more fundamental essen>als and also with range of classes. A school in the upper social class would provide a larger range of classes with a larger range of complexity; while in the lower social class there are not as many opportuni>es available. “Social inequality prevents [students] in the lower class from having what they need to get ahead” (Cass). Some students in the lower social class may not be eligible to take the classes they want because it is not provided for them. A class that is not provided could be a class that a student wants or needs in order to pursue their future career in. Guided Pathways would never be aware of a class that is not provided because they only see what is on the computer screen. Guided Pathways would assume that a student does not want to purse a certain career pathway because a class wasn’t offered in high school to show their interests. This program would stereotype a student in a lower social class and put them in a noncomplex pathway. For example, a student in the lower social class may want to be a lawyer, but this student was unable to take classes that represent the desire to be a lawyer because it was not provided. Guided Pathways would take the classes that a student takes and put them on a pathway. Students in the lower social class do not have the complexity of classes that the upper social class has. This means that Guided Pathways would put a student in the lower social class on a lower status pathway for their career. They would assume that a student cannot handle a more complex pathway because of the data provided to Guided Pathways. Guided Pathways assume that the data they have about a student represents who they are. Guided Pathways does not know the true story of a person and they do not know the person that is hiding behind the data. Guided Pathways doesn’t know what people go through. Outside factors could alter the data of a student either in a posi>ve or nega>ve way. A student could have had family issues such a divorce, abuse, or death. These examples tend to have a nega>ve effect on a student. With this nega>ve effect, grades can go down and data can be biased. Family problems can bring distrac>ons to students. Students have to figure out how to handle problems and some students may not be able cope and handle these problems in a posi>ve way. Students have to learn how to handle all these situa>ons while trying to complete homework, take tests, and quizzes. It can be overwhelming and cause a decline in their academic performance. Guided Pathways would make assump>ons about these kinds of students in a nega>ve way. They would put these students in a lower status pathway based on their low grades, test scores, etc. when in reality, they are the smartest student in their class. Students should not be held against their data and have their data impact them in a nega>ve way because data does not show the true capabili>es of a student. Data from high school does not show what a student is capable of in college. A student in high school could have done extremely well and could have been in the top of their class. This data would have a posi>ve impact on which pathway a student could go on. Guided Pathways would place a student that has done well in high school on a high/complex pathway. Guided Pathways would assume that a student can handle this type of complex pathway. College is a completely different environment. Classes in high school are completely different than classes in college. The classes in high school could have been easier to a student that has done well in high school, while college classes can be very challenging. These college classes that Guided Pathways makes the students take could be far to complex for them compared to the classes they have taken previously. This could cause the student to crash because they 42

are placed on a pathway that is out of their achievement level. This proves that Guided Pathways assump>ons and judgments about data are not an accurate representa>on of a student. An important part of Guided Pathways is making sure a student does not take unnecessary credits with their program. They say it is “impossible for students to choose courses that don’t count toward their degree” (Guided Pathway to Success). When college students are on this path, they are told exactly what to take and when to take them. But, are classes really unnecessary? College is all about exploring new ideas. Choices shouldn’t be limited. It is important for a student to try new things and to experience different classes. A student should be allowed to take whatever they want, whenever they want, even if its not used for their degree. It is the student’s decision to take what they desire. A student should be able to explore new knowledge. They should not be trapped inside a box that is barricading them from specific classes they should not take. Stepping out side the box is an important aspect of college. More knowledge should take students up to the next level. A student needs to take classes for themselves as well as for the degree. It helps a student’s mind be aware of what is in the world. Furthermore, there are some, if not many, college students who change their mind about what they want to pursue. New knowledge with experiencing these “unnecessary” classes can create new interests that a student never knew and experienced. These new interests can change a student’s mind about the pathway that was created for them. Guided Pathways states that “a student can change their pathway or major, but not without permission.” A student should never have to ask permission to change their future. It’s unnecessary to ask permission to change their future. An advisor should never tell a student they cannot change the pathway that was set up for them by their data. A pathway should be created based on interests, not data. Although Guided Pathways may seem like a good program, it has its flaws. Most students are oblivious to the problems of the programs because Guided Pathways only explains the things a person wants to hear. They explain the expected reality that could go through a college student’s mind, but they do not explain the nega>ve quali>es that it has. Students should be careful with this program and think of the complica>ons that Guided Pathways has before proceeding. It is important for a student to pave their own path to success instead of having a path set up for them by data. Data does not represent a student and it should not represent their abili>es. Just because a computer program tells someone what to do, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work 162.1 (1980): n. pag. Web. Boyd, Danah. “Which Students Get to Have Privacy?” Medium. The Message. 22 May 2015. Web. 07 April 2016. Bailey, Thomas. “Rethinking the ‘cafeteria’ Approach to Community College.” Washington Post. The Washington Post. 11 May 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016 Caruth, Gail. “Learning How to Learn: A Six Point Model for Increasing Student Engagement.” Online Submission (2014): ERIC. Web. 15 February 2016.


Cass, Oren. “The inequality cycle: why social and economic opportunity rise or fall together.” Na3onal Review 5 October, 2015. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 February, 2015. Elmose, Mathias. “Is Slack the New LMS?” Medium. The Synapse. 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. Gannon, Kevin. “Let Them Eat (Unbundled) Cake!” The Ta[ooed Professor. N.p. 04 Aug. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016 “Guided Pathways to Success.” N.p. n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2016 Johnson, Shaun. “Why America’s Prep Schools Aren’t Following Arne Duncan’s Public School Educa>on Reforms.” GOOD Magazine. GOOD Magazine. 03 Feb. 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. Vejar, Cynthia. “Issues of Class in U.S. Educa>on.” Research Starters: Educa3on (Online Edi3on) (2015): Research Starters. Web. 22. Mar. 2016.


Guiding Students into Surveillance ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ashley Mishkoor

Students are constantly making choices. The choices may be as simple as deciding what to wear or as complicated as seSling on a specific major that leads them to a life-long career. “Students oPen have difficulty looking through these choices, and they end up making poor decisions about what program to enter, what courses to take, when to seek help, and many drop out of college altogether” (CCRC). Many students may not have the proper opportuni>es, tools, resources or guidance which causes them to be lead in the wrong direc>on. Many college students are facing one of these issues in their educa>onal journey. “Only about 35% percent of students graduate with a Bachelor’s degree on >me” (CCA). Students are earning credits that are unnecessary towards their degree which causes them to waste their precious >me and money. As a result, progress towards their degree is becoming delayed and the students are gerng off track. Students begin college as young as 17 years old; how do schools expect a student to make a career choice at such a young age without any guidance? They oPen begin by exploring a few op>ons for a few semesters and then deciding on a major. Schools are trying to implement a new system called Guided Pathways to Success which will be a step-by-step map that guides the students to complete their credits on >me for gradua>on to avoid was>ng >me and money. GPS will eliminate the student’s choice of which classes to take and when to take them. Guided Pathways to Success is a set plan that will cause students to be focused on earning their degree on >me. Schools offer a dizzying array of courses, programs, and scheduling op>ons and then they ask the students to pick and choose from them” (Bailey). This is referring to the ‘cafeteria’ approach in regards to college courses. Students will be guided into this program intended for surveillance on their informa>on. “GPS does this by planning all the required classes ahead of >me, narrowing down your choices for the fields of study, preven>ng a switch in your degree and using technology that monitors students’ work” (CCA). When students begin using the guided pathway, schools and advisers are beSer able to constantly monitor what the student is doing and how they are doing. GPS indirectly leads the students into surveillance by the school or ins>tu>on. Surveillance causes the student to lose their privacy, if they had any to begin with. Some students are lead into specific paths on purpose. The school or ins>tu>on will lead some students into a path where most of their classes allow them to discover and explore. Other students will be lead into a path where the main focus is training and discipline so they may thrive in the work field. All of these decisions are made based on the surveillance the school does on a student. The school invades the student’s privacy to obtain informa>on on their social class to lead them through a set path that will help them succeed. What we search online, what our social class is, race, na>onality and many other factors that are unrelated to educa>on are playing a role in what is offered to students. Factors that are irrelevant to educa>on are being used to limit the student’s educa>onal opportuni>es. Everyone is constantly being digitally redlined; digital redlining is when what you search online determines what is offered to you in 45

your future searches. Informa>on exposed to students in the future will be affected and filtered based on the searches students make in the present. They will only have access to what informa>on is deemed as applicable to their class or occupa>on based on previous searches. Colleges are beginning to know everything about the student even if it is irrelevant to educa>on. By giving educa>onal companies easy access to students’ demographics and other personal informa>on they will be put on a path to a des>na>on they can’t control. Colleges jus>fy this as promo>ng “student success”. In monitoring students’ study habits, it was men>oned that “We don’t need to use any of the data about you…to try and manipulate you, we want to give you the data so you manipulate yourself” (Warrell). Students are given choices and depending on the choices they make, that is how they determine their own fate, not anyone else. GPS will separate the students based on race and social class. Once again, a factor that has nothing to do with educa>onal abili>es is used to separate groups of students and promote ‘success’. This refers back to Anyon’s idea of the “hidden curriculum.” Knowledge and skills leading to social power and rewards are made available to the advantaged social groups but are withheld from the working classes, to whom a more “prac>cal” curriculum is offered” (Anyon 67). Students will be restricted to associate with others that are only interested in their same subjects or from the same social classes. They won’t be exposed to a variety of informa>on and different perspec>ves because they are limited by what is set for them. Students will be single-minded because they wouldn’t know any beSer. It could result in a never ending cycle of students being shoved down a one way street. Students are oPen not given enough power when it comes to having authority over their privacy, their educa>on and their rights. They allow schools and other ins>tu>ons to take control over them. GPS is used as a means to make a community college appear more successful without actually producing independent and prepared students. “Objec>ve career success is defined by variable aSainments such as pay, promo>ons and occupa>onal status, which have long been considered the hallmarks of career success across a wide range of socie>es. Subjec>ve career success is defined by an individual’s reac>ons to his or her unfolding career experiences” (Heslin). Everyone has a different defini>on for success. Students may consider success to be obtaining a degree and having a stable career. Schools that par>cipate in the GPS program may classify success as invading the privacy of the students and gathering all the informa>on that they need. “Colleges can more effec>vely monitor student progress toward comple>on through a more structured student support system built around guided pathways” (CCA). Students think that using the guided pathway system is helping them avoid taking unnecessary credits and save money, but in reality it’s only helping the schools in their constant surveillance. The schools have advisers monitoring the students in regards to how they are doing in their classes. It may seem nice to have someone care about your educa>on and your well-being, but really it’s not to help you succeed, it’s to help schools in their project of surveillance on every student. “Students were required to choose a focus area and develop a semester-by-semester plan for comple>on. Advisors were held accountable for mee>ng with their students regularly, monitoring their progress and intervening quickly if one went off track”(Bailey). It seems that students are stuck once they choose a major. The advisers are forcing the student to stay on track and if anything comes between the student’s schooling and focus, the advisers won’t let that happen. Students are stressing about 46

gerng off track and this may cause them to not perform as well in their classes. “Some argue that increasing tension puts students at risk” (Warrell). When students become tense or stressed out, the risk here is that they will lose focus on how well they have been doing. The result will be students beginning to lose mo>va>on to con>nue doing well. Everything revolves around social class; educa>on, careers, opportuni>es and many more things are affected by social class. Guided Pathways to Success is slowly pushing students towards a certain way of studying and obtaining their degrees. Students will begin to associate with people of similar interests and social class without having any integra>on with different students. Students will be forced to follow the GPS schedule that has been laid out for them and there can’t be any changes because they are being watched carefully. “In the later chapters of his book, Pariser argues that the pervasiveness of filter bubbles may hinder learning, crea>vity, innova>on, poli>cal dialogue, and even make us more suscep>ble to manipula>ve adver>sing” (Smale). Colleges use Guided Pathway to Success as a “filter bubble” to take away opportuni>es from students choosing their own paths. GPS is slowly taking away new careers and op>ons for the students because they won’t be able to explore different classes and routes. The schools and ins>tu>ons are “filtering” students into a bubble based on similar goals. This will cause students to become unaware of what else the student can achieve. Students’ learning and crea>vity is being limited when they use the Guided Pathways to Success program. One of the main issues of GPS is the invasion of student’s privacy. When students sign up for the program, their informa>on may be sent off to other sources which voids privacy laws that were meant to keep their academic informa>on private. Students are unaware of how their data is being sent around and if they were, they obviously would not be pleased with an unprotected sharing of their informa>on. Companies and programs such as Pearson are beginning to get more involved in the educa>on system which may give them the ability to exploit informa>on or data they have collected about students for money. If the student wants to pass the class, they must do the homework which is posted on a secondary website like Pearson. Pearson has personal academic data on that student, and the student doesn’t have a choice because it’s either share their data and allow Pearson to have their personal data, or fail the class for not doing the work. The main mo>ve of GPS is 24/7 student surveillance. Students may not realize it at first, but the Guided Pathways to Success program is more interested in where they are, what they do, and how they are doing. By knowing this, they will have more control over the student. Basically, GPS is a hidden street towards surveillance. From the outside, it looks as if the school is concerned in the student’s success and overall progress towards gradua>on but on the inside, it actually is straying students towards surveillance through a hidden street. Just like the GPS in your car leads you to a certain place, this GPS leads you towards a certain degree. This GPS won’t re-route you when you make the wrong turn, rather it will share your mistakes with other people and ins>tu>ons that will be watching you fail. “This was the way he had to go; he had no choice. He had never had any choice. He was only a dreamer” (Guin). Some>mes we are forced to follow a specific route just to reach a des>na>on, this is exactly what GPS is doing, and it causes you to follow a specific layout just to earn your degree. Students can dream of what they want to do with their schooling and what they want to achieve to get to their career, but dreams are not a reality. The reality is 47

that they are going in the way the guided pathway is leading them and insecurely sharing their private informa>on without a choice. “The individuals who might have given permission to have their data used in what they believe to have been an anonymous fashion might have no idea that re-iden>fica>on is even possible. This can lead to harmful results, revealing informa>on on medical history, personal habits, financial situa>on and family rela>ons that most people would classify as private” (Heiser). Students are at risk for facing this issue but the informa>on that is being revealed is their educa>onal history and personal habits. Students are too busy thinking about gradua>ng and earning their degree, that any harm to their privacy would be the last thing on their minds. They put their full trust in the school and adviser in hopes of obtaining their degree stress free. When signing up for the Guided Pathways program, they are unaware that they are being used for their informa>on. Advisers that are par>cipa>ng in the Guided Pathways program know basically everything about the student, whether it is school related or not. Students are expec>ng the mo>ve of the GPS program to be their success and benefit, but the indirect mo>ve is their constant surveillance and invasion of privacy. “Teachers, in devising requirements for wriSen work and oral discussion, have an ethical responsibility to respect both students’ privacy and their emo>onal and intellectual dignity. Teachers should keep confiden>al what they know about students’ academic standing, personal lives, and poli>cal or religious views and should not exploit such personal knowledge” (MLAA). It is evident that teachers and even advisers have a crucial role when it comes to keeping any informa>on they have on a student private. Once the students’ informa>on is exposed to many sources, it’s extremely difficult to track where it’s been and to get it back. This is just like a feather pillow, once it rips and the feathers fly out, good luck trying to get all of the feathers back. This is no joke; students are at a risk of having all of their informa>on exposed and once it’s out in the world, it can’t be taken back. Imagine being in a car going somewhere you’ve never been before. Most of the >me, if we go somewhere we don’t know, we enter the address in the GPS and expect it to take us somewhere without any problems. Students are facing this same issue; they are trying to get somewhere they have never been before and in this case, they have never obtained a degree before. They use the help of the Guided Pathway to Success program to lead them to the degree without any obstacles or setbacks. The student is following the GPS path and doesn’t think anything of it un>l they realize they have reached a dead end, and their informa>on has been exposed already…no going back now.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” The Journal of Educa3on 162.1 (1980): 67–92. Web. 14 April. 2016 hSp:// Bailey, Thomas. “Rethinking the ‘cafeteria’ Approach to Community College.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 11 May 2015. Web. 14 April. 2016 hSps:// opinions/redesigning-communitycolleges/2015/05/11/c75e4584-f7f5-11e4-9030b4732caefe81_story.html 48

"Complete College America » The Game Changers." Complete College America » The Game Changers. Complete College America, 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. hSp:// Guin, Ursula K. Le. Google. 28 April 2015. Web. Heiser, Jay, and Frank Buytendijk. "Gartner Your Source for Technology Research and Insight." Technology Research. N.p., 5 Mar. 2013. Web. 04 May 2016. Heslin, Peter A.. “Conceptualizing and Evalua>ng Career Success”. Journal of Organiza3onal Behavior26.2 (2005): 113–136. Web. 5 May 2016. Modern Language Associa>on Of America. “Statement of Professional Ethics”. Profession (2005): 228– 232. Web. 8 May 2016. Smale, Maura. "ACRLog." ACRLog., 7 July 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. Warrell, Helen. "Students under Surveillance -" Financial Times. Financial Times Ltd 24 July 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. hSp:// "What We Know about Guided Pathways." Community College Research Center, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. hSp://


Pathway to Invasion ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

McKenna WiS

Guided Pathways to Success: “Naviga>ng the complicated path through college is a difficult task for far too many. All students need step-by-step roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on – saving >me and money—and significantly boos>ng their success” (Guided Pathways to Success 1). GPS is a program that Macomb Community College currently includes in a student’s curriculum. It is a program built and designed solely to help ensure that college students take a more direct approach to receive a degree. GPS is constantly forbidding students from taking classes that do not pertain to their majors, to save >me and money. The word “intrusive” really s>cks out in the phrase given by GPS itself. It is literally telling students that the program is an invasion of privacy, but few students will no>ce or care. They will never realize how nega>vely just that one word could affect their college careers. Most college students are young adults; being the age that they are, those students probably think that they are en>tled to everything. Those young adults think that free college tui>on, scholarships, and having control over what people get to know about them are things to act en>tled about. But Stokes note, ”You are not en>tled to your opinion. You are only en>tled to what you can argue for" (1). College students of all ages can argue over the fact that they are en>tled to have control over their privacy, who gets to access to it, and how much is known about them. Whatever they may think, no choice is given to students. Their privacy is one of the only things they can one hundred percent call their own, the only thing that students should have full control over in their lives. The Guided Pathways program will absorb any and all informa>on possible about its students, claiming that it will help them in the long run to save money and >me, GPS directs students down different paths based on collected informa>on. This informa>on is oPen based on social class, how much money the students contribute to the college, how many classes taken, grade point average, and so much more. “This en>re enterprise operates on one very powerful currency; data. Without the data the machine ceases to operate” (Johnson). The system of Guided Pathways cannot run without the informa>on taken from students. Johnson refers to data as a currency. To GPS, data might as well make the world go round, it is as equally valuable to the system as money is to the world. Data being compared to currency may also imply the Guided Pathways could use that data in exchange for other sources to boost the name and reputa>on of the program. GPS has never claimed not to share all of the data with outside or, third party sources; this means that anyone could learn anything about any student. The constant growth in technology will only help this spread. Technology has become a cri>cal part in educa>on for all grades, schools, and student ages. Most classes are organized and based on the technology granted to schools and students; this alters what those schools and students can work on in their free >me as well as what their classes are geared towards. “Globaliza>on has also broken down barriers to educa>on like poverty and discrimina>on. In the classroom, students are increasingly encouraged to adopt a global mindset so that they will be beSer prepared to live and work in an interconnected world” (Conroy 2). Students are becoming more readily accep>ng of the fact that technology is becoming the one way to navigate the world. Technology s>ll >es 50

into social class. Students from lower social classes will never have the same level of technology in their classrooms as the students from higher social classes. Students from lower social classes are not able to have the same resources that a student from upper classes have (Anyon 87). They s>ll seem to not no>ce how intrusive anything on the internet can be. “Technology will save us, but it will ruin us” (Gannon 2). Gannon writes to tell how technology is becoming life altering, with constant posi>ve progressions. He also writes to show readers that people are too dependent upon and trus>ng with technology. The blind trust that people put into technology on a daily basis is ruining how even the average person’s day goes. The naïve faith being placed into the Guided Pathways program will ruin how a student’s college career should go. Guided Pathways is one program retaining every bit of students’ informa>on whether one school or mul>ple schools. It seems that gerng hold of all of the important data on a computer program would be easier for even the average hacker. This means that not one thing about any student is truly safe from their personal informa>on being given to anyone or leaked over the internet. It is not the hacker who represents the largest threat to students. The threat is recognized in from “U.S. Privacy Law and Interna>onal Privacy Frameworks, Big Data and the Department of Homeland Security, and Big Data and Privacy” (Presidency Office 1). People who run GPS can monitor and store everything students are doing at any moment, and thus control which courses students are allowed to take. They could recognize a higher social class student who can afford to take fiPeen credit hours, as opposed to a student who could only afford to take eight. Guided Pathways will direct the student who can financially support a longer college career, and push them down a path filled with more classes, leading to more funding for the college while simultaneously pushing the student who cannot afford all of the extra college classes on a shorter route to prohibit them from spending more money. While a decreased tenure seems great for that student, they are being shorted an educa>on they deserve. This includes taking more classes, including challenging courses that a par>cular student is missing out on without that choice being on their own consent. This shows how students will always be under surveillance and judged base on their own social classes (Warell 3) even if that is not how students choose to judge themselves. All of these aspects show the nega>ve effects of what Guided Pathways to Success really does. The program was originally designed to help monitor student’s college progress to make their lives easier. Personally, I do not think students should be monitored every day, but there are other programs which exist to do the exact same thing as GPS. For example, Knewton has built a data base designed to figure how students learn the best. Depending on what they learn best at which point in the day, or what they eat for breakfast can affect their daily test scores it is designed to help give students a unique curriculum based solely on how they learn. “So for every one of the students we can figure out within a few hours what they're strong at and what they're weak at, at the beginning of the course. So we can produce a unique syllabus for each student each day, literally unique…We literally have more data about our students than any company has about anybody else about anything, and it's not even close. That's why we can do all that stuff right (Ferreira).” All of these things seem great, and GPS and Knewton strive to help make student’s lives easier, but only at the risk of truly invading every single student’s personal life. All of these things cannot predict what a student will want to do even a second aPer collec>ng data for a day.


Student’s lives are constantly evolving and changing; recording what they ate for breakfast should not determine how well they will do on a test that day. Students are constantly going through emo>onal turmoil. Good and bad days, with rela>onships, jobs, death in the family, or even personal illness. All students handle these problems differently. Some decide to indulge themselves in school for the distrac>on, while others fade into the background, no longer caring about their grades or career paths. Whether the student decides to focus on their work, or fade away from it, can permanently alter their pathways. Both programs seem to think that they can standardize students, even though no two people on this earth are the same. Standardized students also cannot exist without standardized teaching. No one (even from these two programs) has the >me to go through and force every teacher to teach in a standardized way, or show student’s how to learn in a standardized way; illustra>ng that GPS shouldn’t be a program allowed to control how college students navigate their college careers. In the long process of picking a college, a student will not only lean towards the ins>tu>ons offering the best educa>on, they also choose to live on campuses that make them feel safe. Safety (regarding privacy) is not something that exists with Guided Pathways. Any single person that runs the program for a school can take any informa>on about any student they please. Current students and future students should not aSend a college or university where people can learn their full names and address without even personally knowing them. The people who run and monitor the Guided Pathways program have no limita>ons on the knowledge that can be gathered about students. Collected data could poten>ally be used against students and effect the rest of their lives. Third party par>cipants could steal a student’s en>re life at a click of a buSon, and could easily cause more turmoil in the already stressful life of a college student. While students s>ll remain unaware of this program and its hazardous effects, it is also unknown how easily a hacker, or even a student who is good at cracking codes, can get hold of all the informa>on stored in the system. Hackers can easily get ahold of all the informa>on the people running GPS can, but can have different mo>ves. Hackers could simply be a student not pleased with their overall grade in the class, changing their own grades, or the grades of others easily. Awarding higher grades to students who hardly work, and giving students who work extremely hard with high grades lower grades that they don’t deserve. The program itself is only aiding students who don’t wish to broaden their horizons on their own, permanently changing the educa>onal path students may be led. The invasion of privacy, and the lack of control, students have over their privacy alone is horrendous. A program, an inanimate non emo>onal piece of technology, which will run thousands of students is not right. Students are living, breathing beings that have feelings, emo>ons, and things going on in their lives daily, that a program would not be able to comprehend. A student’s daily life is constantly changing and being affected by what goes on around them. These changes can be sudden and unexpected such as death, car troubles, or even stress from work. All of these things effect how a person func>ons during a school day, changing how a student’s test scores, or in class performance could be in any single day. One low test score could drop a student’s grade by an en>re leSer, indica>ng to the program that a student may not be able to handle a higher level class; in reality the student might have had one off day; one low test score and the program completely reroutes their educa>onal path. The data collected on that bad day could make a student’s path to gradua>on longer, which might take the


student away from the higher level classes needed to graduate cos>ng them more money. Adding these factors together, prove that data and a program cannot show what people go through on a daily basis. The ac>ons of those before us s>ll define who we are. People are s>ll judged by who their parents are and where they come from, rather than being judged on who those people could be. The big stories about the ‘underdog’ are becoming more and more popular. Novels and movies are created to remind viewers that; yes, it is in fact possible to break away from others who say people are meant to be depending on where they come from. Now people are star>ng to network and branch out; where social mobility was previously restricted people are finding that they can change who they are. They are allowed to explore and try new things, and discover who they really are or want to be. College serves a similar role in allowing students to explore new classes to pick or even change careers. In Guided Pathways to Success people are confined in their networks, never being allowed to explore and try new classes. Students are even stripped of their right to change majors without an advisor’s permission, being held to one path with a student’s original career goal, but never lerng them try and find careers that may be more firng for them. Not only do students not have control over their own privacy, but they no longer have control over their college career, even the op>on of changing their future profession. Students need to be aware of the underlying consequence of the program; they surrender their ability to explore educa>onal op>ons by delega>ng control to Guided Pathways to Success. The system takes over and strips students of their privacy, directs a student’s college career based on their social class, and takes away a person’s right to claim their own success. Despite the program’s original inten>on to help students, GPS systema>cally takes so much more from them. Guided Pathways never considers how students grew up, how their young lives can affect who they are in college, or even how they emo>onally handle everything that happens in their daily lives. Students can be leP feeling trapped within the confines of the program.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." HSp:// anyon-1980.pdf. Boston University, 1980. Web. 26 Apr. 2016. Complete College America. "Guided Pathways to Success (boos>ng College Comple>on)." Complete College America. Web. <hSp:// GPS_Summary_FINAL.pdf>. Conroy, Melissa. "Globaliza>on And Educa>on." Research Starters: Educa>on (Online Edi>on) (2015): Research Starters. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. Execu>ve Office of The President. "Big Data: Seizing Opportuni>es, Preserving Values." W e b . < h S p : / / w w w . w h i t e h o u s e . g o v / s i t e s / d e f a u l t / fi l e s / d o c s / big_data_privacy_report_may_1_2014.pdf>. Ferreira, Jose, CEO. "Knewton- Educa>on Datapalooza." Datapalooza. 13 Apr. 2016. Web. <hSps://>. "Let Them Eat (Unbundled) Cake!" The TaSooed Professor. 2015. Web. 07 May 2016. <hSp://>. 53

"No, You're Not En>tled to Your Opinion." The Conversa>on. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <hSp:// theconversa>>tled-to-your-opinion-9978>. "Students under Surveillance -" Financial Times. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <hSp:// cms/s/2/634624c6-312b-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff.html#slide0>. "The Defini>on of Currency." Dic> Web. 07 May 2016. <hSp://www.dic> currency>. "Why America's Prep Schools Aren't Following Arne Duncan's Public School Educa>on Reforms." GOOD Magazine. 2013. Web. 07 May 2016. <hSps://>cles/why-america-s-prep-schoolsaren-t-following-arne-duncan-s-public-school-educa>on-reforms>.


GPS: Whose Success is It? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Raegan Randolph

The word “success” can vary depending on who offers the defini>on. Every college has its meaning of success that they expect their students to follow, but then every student has her or his unique meaning of the word. With that said, how to students achieve their own success? Or do they? Colleges have a tool called “GPS” that takes students on the pathway to success. One thing to thing to think about is whether students are on track to their success, or their college’s success. It seems that colleges use GPS as a control mechanism to keep students in a certain path that they want them on so it’s easier for the school. Schools don’t have to waste >me helping students pick their classes because they ask them what they want their degree to be in, click a few buSons, then print out everything the student needs to do to get to their “success.” Is it really the student’s success, or is it the college’s? Not only is this closing the minds of the students, but this is giving students the opportunity to be lazy. My ques>on is what happens when students can’t get financial aid for certain classes. In that case, the GPS is pointless because the student will have to veer from that path they are given due to the narrowness of the op>ons it gives. “Instead of staying on track for on->me gradua>on, they “swirl” in place — too oPen gaining excess credits in unnecessary courses to maintain financial aid eligibility” (GPS). Or, what happens when students aren't interested in the classes that they have to take to stay on this path? Guided Pathways is a way colleges use structure for students to graduate on >me. This program gives students opportuni>es to choose from a selec>on of programs. These programs include: science, mathema>cs, engineering, healthcare, business, liberal arts and social studies. Then, students get a list of all the classes they will take in order to graduate. There is very liSle room to change classes or programs. “Naviga>ng the complicated path through college is a difficult task for far too many. All students need step-by-step roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on — saving >me and money — and significantly boos>ng their success” (GPS). This is alarming. I am ques>oning why they used the words “intrusive guidance.” Is this supposed to make people ques>on the inten>ons of GPS? Because I am. Most student’s goals would be to graduate as fast as they can, spending the least amount of money possible. Students are forced into credits that they do not need or want. “On average, U.S. bachelor’s degree graduates earned 12 credits that didn’t count toward their majors — cos>ng themselves and taxpayers nearly $6 billion a year” (GPS). For working class students these wasted credits can add up causing student to have to work longer hours at a job and causing school to be put on the back burner. “Excess credits are es>mated to cost more than $19 billion each year. Of that amount, nearly $8 billion is paid by students — and more than $11 billion is the unnecessary burden of taxpayers who subsidize public higher educa>on” (GPS). Even though GPS is meant to help students graduate on >me and save money it seems to do the opposite of that. “Given that >me is the enemy of college 55

comple>on, all GPS pathways are designed with the credits necessary each semester to stay on track for on->me gradua>on” (GPS). To do this, colleges use Guided Pathway to Success as a filter to take away opportuni>es from students choosing their own paths. Smale says, “In the later chapters of his book, Pariser argues that the pervasiveness of filter bubbles may hinder learning, crea>vity, innova>on, poli>cal dialogue, and even make us more suscep>ble to manipula>ve adver>sing”. By telling the students exactly what to do and how to do it with very liSle budging room, Guided Pathway is neglec>ng them to explore for themselves. They tell the student how and what to do before giving them a chance to explore. The Guided Pathway program aSempts to generalize all students. What they need to realize is student are unique in their own way so it isn't right that they all get the same generalize them. With GPS student are limited on what they can or cannot take, purng them in a place with liSle breathing room to make errors or change their mind. This will cause students to never venture outside of their given pathway. Students will just do what they are told to get a degree, but what if they want to see what is out there? Or what if they have to take classes that do not pertain to the degree but must take them for financial aid? “Instead of staying on track for on->me gradua>on, they “swirl” in place — too oPen gaining excess credits in unnecessary courses to maintain financial aid eligibility” (GPS). Unfortunately, many students end up veering from their path to success in college. This results in a waste of >me and money, lack of mo>va>on, and discouragement. Colleges are said to help students stay on track of their path that will lead them to success. This is not always held to be true. “Na>onally, only about half of full->me students pursuing a four-year degree graduate — in six years”. I’m sure this is baffling to everyone. Was>ng two years in college drains a lot of money and a lot of >me that wasn't beneficial to the student. “The average bachelor’s degree graduate in the United States earned more than 136 credits when 120 credits is usually enough”. The ques>on that should immediately come to mind is, why are all these extra credits being earned when they are unable to benefit the student? Far too many college students can first-handedly relate to these issues all too well, which is the problem. Something should be done to stop this, or at least put these extra credits to use in some way (Complete College America). Something people probably don’t think about is not only how much money students have wasted on these extra credits, but how much taxpayers have as well. It is es>mated that taxpayers waste more than $11 billion. But, is this what colleges want? Every college has a different defini>on of success. But, it is not the college’s success that should come first, it is the student’s. This is not how most colleges think, which is quite upserng especially since students are handing the college money to guide them to success. It is said that using the GPS system will save college students money, >me, and lead them success. Is that really the case though? Or is this just a decoy to make students think they're being helped, but really they're being controlled by the system? Colleges want to benefit themselves using GPS rather than the students. They use this as a control mechanism, but in a sneaky way. They make is seem like they are using this tool to help students, when really they are helping themselves by making it easier for them by just using the click of a few buSons, and contain a calm environment. If students weren't successful aSending their college, then the college wouldn't be successful. With that said, colleges should focus on their student’s success and then their success will follow. Social class is another hidden aspect to Guided Pathways. Does GPS help students of different social classes? Jean Anyon the author of "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” believes the 56

educa>on being provided to American students range from their social classes. Educa>on is connected to your social class. Each school is set out to help students accomplish different goals. Anyon notes, “students in different social-class backgrounds are rewarded for classroom behaviors that correspond to personality traits allegedly rewarded in the different occupa>onal strata--the working classes for docility and obedience, the managerial classes for ini>a>ve and personal asser>veness.” GPS makes false assump>ons on the students within a par>cular social class. They stereotype certain types of students and categorize them based on their previous educa>on. In educa>on social classes are different in ways such as resources, complexity of courses and teachers (Anyon). Guided Pathways gets all of their informa>on by collec>ng student data. This data is gathered without a student’s knowledge or choice. This informa>on is then used to put them on a pathway that they are expected to follow. With gathering this data privacy is being invaded without students consent. Without this data being collected and privacy being invaded students would not be given a pathway. These students basically don’t have a choice on whether their privacy gets invaded (Boyd). So not only does GPS act as a gatekeeper, and has problems with students of different social classes, but it also invades privacy. For students, privacy is a huge thing. If they are giving their money to their school and coun>ng on the school to give them the right tools and educa>on, they are giving them their trust. When anyone obtains informa>on without consent, that is invading privacy. With their privacy being invaded, students cant trust the school. This leads to an unhealthy rela>onship between the students and the school and could throw students from their path, making them even more frustrated. Warrell adds that the informa>on is “being used for the greater good, which is beSer educa>on for everybody” (Warrell). But who’s greater good is it for, the college or the students? It seems that colleges are just trying to help themselves not taking into account who is gerng hurt. I find it preSy alarming that in Boyd’s ar>cle the >tle is “Which Students Get to Have Privacy?” (Boyd). Students shouldn’t get to have privacy, they should just have it. Privacy shouldn't be a privilege, it’s a right. So the fact that schools think they can control that is just not right. GPS is allowing students to shut out other opportuni>es that could beSer benefit them. They are taking what is called an opportunity cost. When you chose one path, you are simply choosing not to take others. “An opportunity cost is simply a choice between two possible op>ons where you judge the benefits of one choice over the other. You can choose to do this or you can choose to do that.” (Live Declared). As said before, choosing a specific path puts students in a strict spot to where they cannot make mistakes or veer away from it. They have to carefully consider what path they want to take because once chosen, there is no going back unless they want to waste money and >me just to restart everything. GPS makes it nearly impossible for students to find the right path for themselves when it makes it so that the student can’t try certain things out and if it doesn’t fit them, they can’t just choose another path. As wisely said in an ar>cle from Live Declared, “Ask yourself; “Is accep>ng that cost necessary to get me to the place I want to be?” or more simply put, “is it worth it?””. This wrenching ques>on that GPS forces through a student’s mind when they are told they have to pick a certain path makes it harder for them to actually decide what is right for them and can just lead to even more confusion. Data and social class should not determine ones future. A student is in control of her or his own future and the program is not. This GPS system just shows that schools do not respect their students and 57

that their main focus isn't on them, like it should be. “A growing number of colleges and universi>es are implemen>ng guided pathways reforms. Descrip>ve evidence from these ins>tu>ons suggests that more coherent and clearly structured pathways are helping improve student outcomes.” (Community College Research Center). More colleges are trying to control their students so that more students become “successful” and it makes their college look beSer. This is all very alarming and makes me want to be very careful of what I do in college. As a student I would like to be respected by the college I am purng all of my >me, money, and trust into. We as a community of students need to be more aware of these issues to help prevent them and maybe even take a stand.

Works Cited Anyon, Jean. Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. N.p.: Trustees of Boston University, 1980. 66-99. Boston University. Web. 27 Feb. 2016. <hSp://>. Boyd, Danah. "Which Students Get to Have Privacy?" Medium. N.p., 22 May 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. Complete College America. Guided Pathways to Success: Boos>ng College Comple>on. 2009. <hSp:// GPS_Summary_FINAL.pdf> Smale, Maura. "ACRLog." ACRLog., 7 July 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. The Leader's GPS: Guided Pathways for Success." Results Coaching: The New Essen>al for School Leaders (n.d.): 141-66. Web Warrell, Helen. "Students under Surveillance -" Financial Times. Financial Times Ltd, 24 July 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. hSp:// 2/634624c6-312b-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff.html#slide "What We Know about Guided Pathways." Community College Research Center, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. hSp:// “Opportunity Costs For Going To College” Live Declared. Aug. 02 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <hSps://>


Inten3ons ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Maria Palazzolo

"Naviga>ng the complicated path through college is a difficult task for far too many. All students need step-by-step roadmaps and intrusive guidance to on->me comple>on — saving >me and money — and significantly boos>ng their success." (Complete College America) This belief about college educa>on is becoming more and more popular and is star>ng to raise many ques>ons about how to improve student success and lower the number of student dropouts. The so called "cafeteria approach" that community colleges employ is seen as a huge issue and the leading reason as to why students are not gradua>ng on >me. "To get students in the door, community colleges maximize choice and flexibility. They offer a dizzying array of courses, programs, and scheduling and creden>al op>ons, and they ask students to pick and choose from them. But the dark side of choice and flexibility is complexity, disorienta>on and disconnectedness." (Bailey) Bailey discusses how the problem with this approach is that it confuses students into taking unnecessary credits therefore leaving them frustrated, off track, and down a road to failure. “Large body of rigorous research from behavioral psychology indicates that too many complex choices can lead to the sorts of behaviors that are oPen associated with struggling students: indecision, procras>na>on, self-doubt, and paralysis.” (Jenkins 7) Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) is a program that is made specifically to help solve this issue within the "cafeteria approach" to community college. It provides students with a step-by-step pathway of what classes they need to take in order to stay on track and graduate in the minimum amount of >me necessary. "Na>onally, only about half of full->me students pursuing a four-year degree graduate — in six years. Only about 35 percent graduate with bachelor’s degrees on >me. Not even 25 percent of full>me associate degree candidates graduate in three years — and only about 10 percent do so in two years." (Complete College America) GPS aSempts to solve this issue by drama>cally curng credits, saving >me and money for students. Each student is evaluated and tested so that they can avoid taking classes they are "predicted" to fail. The student is only given classes that GPS predicts they will do well in, saving them from having to retake any classes. GPS also func>ons to prevent students from switching majors causing them to have wasted credits, >me, and money. "Students can s>ll change their pathway or major but not without permission." (Complete College America) Many ques>ons arise from these facts about the Guided Pathways to Success program. Although in black and white, GPS sounds like a perfect solu>on for improving student success, there are several hidden issues. This issues are mostly related to privacy, social class, and educa>on. The defini>on of success varies from person to person. According to GPS, success is thought of as gradua>ng as quickly as possible with no room for error. Others may define success as making mistakes, learning from them, and improving. Guided Pathways works to help students graduate faster by predic>ng which classes they will succeed in, cramming fiPeen credits into each semester, and monitoring their every move. They also do not allow students to change majors without their approval. When this informa>on is simplified and


looked at from a different perspec>ve, it is preSy clear that this program is hiding things behind its preSy face. Guided Pathways may sound like a great program, considering they put together students’ en>re schedules for them and sort out classes they know a student will not succeed in. This approach may end up hur>ng a student more than helping. A college student, who is at least the age of eighteen, is a responsible adult who should be capable of making their own decisions of what is best for them, and sor>ng through classes on their own. This program provides students with an easy way out by filtering classes they are predicted to fail. If someone is only given classes they are expected to succeed in, how can they ever learn? Shouldn't students want to challenge themselves and explore unfamiliar subjects in order to gain a more well-rounded educa>on? Although many elec>ves may seem like a waste of >me, for example a medical student taking an English course, these types of courses are useful in many aspects of a student’s life aside from just their educa>on. It is important for every student to understand basics of English, basics of Science, basics of this country’s History, and so on. By skipping over these types of courses, students are missing out on a big chunk of informa>on that will make them a more knowledgeable and well-rounded individual. Many jobs, when searching for an employee, value someone who has knowledge in more than just one subject. With the GPS program, it seems students will only become educated in the field they are preSy much forced to quickly choose. Although it may seem like I am completely bashing everything that GPS stands for, I do believe they are correct in certain aspects and have good inten>ons. Students should definitely be more focused on their goal when star>ng their college journey. However, there are several beSer ways for students to do so. High Schools provide students with access to advisors, websites, and other resources to prepare them for their life throughout college. Students need to become more focused early on to realize that college is not something that can just be procras>nated out of, like many high school classes are. Students fresh out of high school are s>ll in that mind set of just gerng their schedule put together for them, taking the classes the school requires, and just winging it to get by. I believe this is the main reason that when students enter college, they are confused and unprepared for the changes they are faced with. Also, with the GPS program, students are forced to take fiPeen credits per semester, which can be a lot of pressure and way too much to handle. Wouldn’t it be beSer to start new college students out slowly and get them used to college courses first? This is what I would say makes much more sense, rather than to just cram fiPeen credits into one semester solely for the purpose of gradua>ng as quickly as possible. “Course selec>on is the most common topic of conversa>on between students and their advisers. Common advice given to beginning college students is to make their first semester an academically easy one. Students are cau>oned that college courses will be more difficult than those in high school. Furthermore, they will need some >me to adjust to the new freedoms and responsibili>es that come with college life (Szafran 28).” Another big issue about Guided Pathways is that they put their students under strict surveillance. To me, this just sounds extremely unnecessary and childish, and not to men>on a total invasion of privacy. On their website, GPS only men>ons a small amount of informa>on about the student surveillance, so we do not really know exactly what is needed to make the program work. "Innova>ons in technology allow student support to be targeted and customized to meet the needs of individual students. Early warning systems make it easy for ins>tu>ons to track student performance in 60

required courses and target interven>ons when and where they are most needed. For example, systems can automa>cally place a student on administra>ve hold and require a mee>ng with an advisor if a key milestone course in the student’s major is not completed on schedule." This seems sort of creepy when thought about deeper. How do they decide whether a student needs to be put on "administra>ve hold"? This almost seems like a serious stalking issue; how else would they know whether a student is spending their free >me wisely or not? To me, this seems like something that would be used in high school for troublesome kids who skip class and don't do their homework. For this to be used on college students who are mature adults is just absurd. Aside from all of these issues within the Guided Pathways to Success program, there are also many problems within the schools that are employing this program. Since the goal of the GPS program is to lower student dropout rates, the main type of school that uses GPS are community colleges. Community colleges tend to have a bad reputa>on due to the large amount of students who dropout and do not end up gerng a degree. I believe that community colleges want to use GPS because they are under a lot of pressure to give themselves a beSer reputa>on. “Confronted with stagnant gradua>on rates and prodded by the Obama White House, governors and state lawmakers are implemen>ng new performance funding standards for their colleges and universi>es. No longer will these states allocate money to ins>tu>ons based purely on enrollment, but instead on how they educate and ul>mately graduate their students. With many more states engaged in conversa>on, it remains to be seen how far reaching this trend will be. Facing these shiPing pressures, many colleges and universi>es are now searching for answers as to how they will meet the “Comple>on Agenda” (Venit 8). It seems logical for community colleges to want to try using GPS to save themselves, so what is the problem with this? Guided Pathways is a program used to help students be the best they can be and should revolve solely around students and their success. However, it seems the students are being used to join this program and lower the dropout rate of community colleges. Therefore, GPS is not only used as an easy way out for the students, but also an easy way out for the colleges as well. Guided Pathways to Success, despite all its hidden issues, may seem like a program with “good intent.” However, when you look and think deeper beyond the small issues, a bigger picture can be put together. GPS is manipula>ng students into thinking it is the “cure all” for the easiest way to graduate and the most successful way to do so. I believe that Guided Pathways cares less about the students, and more about its own power and authority. As a community college student, I would consider myself a successful and well educated person, and many others are as well. While this program may help lower the student drop-out rate at community colleges, in the end, it s>ll does not give students the credibility they truly deserve. No person or people or program have the right to say who is successful and who is not, and what is defined as success. Guided Pathways says “every student” needs step by step roadmaps and intrusive guidance, but who are they to generalize students into one category? The uniqueness of each individual is what makes educa>on so free and diverse. Imagine a world where every school and every student is the exact same. In the end, a program is not the solu>on, only the students can push community colleges over the edge and rid them of their bad reputa>on.


Works Cited Bailey, Thomas. "Rethinking the 'cafeteria' Approach to Community College." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. <hSps:// redesigning-community-colleges/2015/05/11/c75e4584-f7f5-11e4-9030b4732caefe81_story.html>. hSps:// Venit, Edward P. "The Leader's GPS: Guided Pathways for Success." Results Coaching: The New Essen3al for School Leaders (n.d.): 141-66. H[p://doingwhatma[ Web. hSp:// %20-%20EAB%20Report%20FINAL.pdf Jenkins, .Davis. Redesigning Community Colleges for Student Success Overview of the Guided Pathways Approach (n.d.): n. pag. H[p:// Web. hSp:// Complete College America. "The Leader's GPS: Guided Pathways for Success." Results Coaching: The New Essen3al for School Leaders (n.d.): 141-66. H[p:// Web. hSp:// Szafran, Robert F. “The Effect of Academic Load on Success for New College Students: Is Lighter BeSer?” Research in Higher Educa3on 42.1 (2001): 27–50. Web. hSp:// Jenkins, Davis, and Sung-Woo Cho. "Get With the Program … and Finish It: Building Guided Pathways to Accelerate Student Comple>on." New Direc3ons for Community Colleges 2013.164 (2013): 27-35. Wsac,wa,gov. Web. hSp://


Digital redline 1190 w2016  
Digital redline 1190 w2016  

Students from Macomb Community College applied their critical skills to assess the digital policies and practices that limit the professiona...