Get a general overview of the Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard.
This is the introduction and basic functionality tutorial for the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership Credit Accumulation Rate Institution-Level dashboard.
The Credit Accumulation Rate Institution-Level dashboard reports the number of students who have successfully completed enough credits for satisfactory academic progress. It also helps clarify which students are (or are not) gaining academic momentum in their college career. Understanding which students are lagging in momentum will help determine which students need additional support.
What is a credit accumulation rate? “Credits accumulated” are the number of credits a student earns in a year.
The Credit Accumulation Rate is the percentage of students who meet or surpass a yearly credit threshold.
What should the credit threshold be set at? With this dashboard, you can set the credit threshold in one of two ways:
The first way is the minimum number of credits a student must earn for on-time completion. For a full-time student to complete an associate degree in two years, or a bachelor’s degree in four years, the student must earn a minimum of 30 credits in a year. The student could complete 15 credits in two terms and earn a total of 30 credits in a year, or the student could take 10 credits per term and be enrolled in three terms during the year.
The second way to set the credit threshold is the minimum number of credits earned to satisfy federal financial aid requirements. Full-time students are required to complete 24 credits per academic year to be eligible for federal financial aid while part-time students must complete 12 credits per academic year.
Now let’s talk about how we calculate the credit accumulation ratio. The numerator is the number of students in the cohort who meet the credit threshold. The denominator is the total number of students in the cohort. That ratio is multiplied by 100 to create a percentage.
For example, if 1500 students met the credit threshold out of 4,000 students, the credit accumulation ratio would be 1500 ÷ 4000 * 100, or 37.5%.
A student’s first year is calculated based on when they entered your institution, not based on your institution’s academic year.
This dashboard has two unique filters you can use to disaggregate the data. The first filter, “Credit Threshold,” has two options:
• 15 Part-time and 30 Full-time
• Or 12 Part-time and 24 Full-time
The second filter is “Academic Year.” There are four options:
However, these don’t align with your institution’s academic years.
For this dashboard, we define academic year in terms of the number of credits the student earns, which depends on the credit threshold. For example, if we have the 15/30 credit threshold set, part-time students must earn 15 credits by the end of their first academic year, 30 credits by the end of their second academic year, 45 credits by the end of their third academic year, and 60 credits by the end of their fourth academic year; while full-time students must earn 30 credits by the end of their first academic year, 60 credits by the end of their second academic year, 90 credits by the end of their third academic year, and 120 credits by the end of their fourth academic year.
However, if we set the credit threshold to 12/24, we see that the number of credits that part-time and full-time students must earn per academic year is lower.
Now, let’s combine attendance, which is a global filter, with credit threshold and academic year, which are unique filters.
If we select “full-time” from the attendance filter,
and 15/30 from the credit threshold filter,
and select 2 from the Academic Year filter,
The Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard will show the percentage of full-time students who earned 60 credits or more after their second academic year.
Let’s do another example.
If we select “part-time” from the attendance filter,
and 12/24 from the credit threshold filter,
and select 3 from the Academic Year filter,
the Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard will show the percentage of part-time students who earned 36 credits or more after their third academic year.
Now, let’s look at the dashboard charts.
Before we continue, please remember that the results and trends shown in this tutorial can not be applied to your institution. This data is only for demonstration purposes only. Please review your institution’s data before drawing conclusions.
This is the Home Page for the Postsecondary Data Partnership dashboards. The Credit Accumulation Rate Institution-Level dashboard is one of the early momentum metrics. Clicking this icon takes us to the dashboard.
Above the data charts are the global filters. These include metrics like enrollment type, age group, gender, and GPA range. Applying one or more filters allows us to focus on a specific student population, like female students attending college part-time who are ready to take college-level math courses.
Now, let’s explore the dashboard quadrants. In the top left quadrant, this dashboard measures the proportion of students who are progressing toward completion by earning sufficient credits (30 or 24 credits for full-time; 15 or 12 credits for part-time). We can use this measurement to identify achievement gaps between student populations.
Also in this quadrant, we find the dimensions for this dashboard and any unique filters. Earlier we discussed credit threshold, and here is the filter that allows you to set the credit threshold at 15 credits for part-time students and 30 credits for full-time students or 12 credits for part-time students and 24 credits for full-time students.
And here is the Academic Year filter we discussed earlier.
The upper right quadrant is a line-chart visualization. This chart shows the percentage of students who successfully met the credit accumulation threshold as set by the credit threshold filter; we have it set at 15 credits for part-time students and 30 credits for full-time students. It also shows us the previous years’ cohorts and their credit accumulation rate.
For this institution, there has been a positive trend in this metric from 2013-14 to 2016-17.
If we hover over the 2018-19 data point, we see a pop-up with details about that data point. Here we see that 22% of students met the credit threshold set in the filter. We can also hover over each of the previous years to view their data details.
The charts in the upper right and lower left quadrants are mirror images of each other. While the chart in the upper right quadrant gave us the percentage of students who reached the credit threshold, the chart in the lower left quadrant gives us the percentage of students who did not reach the credit threshold.
Like on the trend-line, if we hover over a bar, we get a pop-up with details about that data point.
If we hover over the 2018-19 bar, we see that 78% of students did not achieve the credit threshold, which makes sense since the line chart told us that 22% met the threshold.
In addition, there is a color overlay that adds another dimension to this chart. A lighter color indicates a higher percentage of students in that group who achieved the credit threshold. A darker color indicates a lower percentage of students who achieved the credit threshold.
The chart in the lower right quadrant is an overall view of this dataset. The blue bar represents the percentage of the student population who achieved the credit threshold. The gray bar shows the percentage of students who did not achieve the credit threshold. The lengths of the bars indicate the number of students.
For 2018-19, we see those same values: 22% of students who achieved the credit threshold and 78% who did not achieve the credit threshold. As we scan from 2013-14 to 2018-19, the blue bars get larger and smaller. In 2016-17, 34% of students met the credit threshold, but that rate has declined since then.
Notice that if we change the credit threshold from 15 and 30 credits to 12 and 24 credits, the trend line flattens and gets higher. If we hover over the 2018-19 year, we see that 42.5% of students achieved the 12/24 credit threshold compared to 22% who achieved the 15/30 credit threshold.
On the chart in the lower left quadrant, the bars have shifted. If we hover over the 2018-19 bar, we see that 57.5% did not achieve the 12/24 credit threshold while 42.5% did.
And notice that the chart in the lower right quadrant shifted to show the higher percentage of students who achieved the 12/24 credit threshold.
In summary, credit accumulation rate is an early momentum metric that correlates with on-time completion. We encourage you to take the time to explore the filters and dimensions in this dashboard in order to identify students who are not making sufficient progress.