Gates, the devotee of data and management by statistical analysis is on a collision course with Higher Ed. We all know that decisions in Higher Ed are based more on collaboration, not data. This collision should provide for great theater. It remains to be seen if it produces great policy.
As education researchers have commented for decades, there is no lack of studies, analysis or dissertations, just a lack of implementing any meaningful policy based on the studies.
Gates current hot topic of retention and completion rates is a classic example. Student integration into the social and academic life of an institution is known to have the greatest correlation to graduation. Yet few institutions take the “student experience” seriously. Whether you support Gates or not, completion rates are a major issue that needs to be addressed.