Learn about time to credential and get an overview of the time to credential/credentials conferred dashboard.
This is the introduction and basic functionality tutorial for the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership Time to Credential / Credentials Conferred dashboard. Thank you for joining us.
The Time to Credential/Credentials Conferred dashboard reports two metrics:
The first metric is the average time it takes a student to complete their credential.
The second metric is the number and proportion of credentials awarded by your institution within an academic year disaggregated by credential type.
What is time to credential? This metric measures the number of calendar years that it takes for a student to earn a credential after enrolling at your institution.
The time it takes to complete a credential depends on three variables:
The first variable is program length. A certificate can take a year or more to complete, an associate degree can take two or more years to complete, and a bachelor’s degree can take four or more years to complete.
The second variable is intensity, which means the student’s attendance. If a student attends college full-time, they will likely accumulate more credits per year than a student who attends college part-time.
The third variable is the type of student. Students are comprised of first-time students and transfer-in students. First-time students enroll in your institution with few, if any, earned credits while transfer-in students likely transfer with several earned credits.
With that in mind, dashboard metrics like Attendance (which disaggregates data by full-time or part-time status) and Enrollment Type (which disaggregates data by first-time and transfer-in students) may be important to explore.
Next, let’s talk about academic year. In other PDP dashboards, academic year is associated with the number of students who first enrolled at your institution during that year. For example, in the Credit Completion Ratio dashboard, each bar represents the average number of credits earned by students who entered in that academic year.
However, in the Time to Credential/Credentials Conferred dashboard, the academic year refers to the number of credentials that your institution awarded during that time period. For example, here is a chart from this dashboard where we see that, in 2017-18, our institution awarded 7,211 associate degrees.
Please note that a student can be awarded multiple credentials within an academic year.
This dashboard has a unique “select chart” option which allows you to toggle between the Total Credential Count as shown in this chart.
And the average time to credential as shown here.
Now, let’s log in to the PDP dashboards.
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 PDP dashboards. The Time to Credential/Credentials Conferred dashboard is one of the Outcomes-Over-Time metrics. Clicking this icon takes us to the dashboard.
At the top are the dashboard’s global filters. These include metrics like Enrollment Type, Attendance, and Pell Grant Recipient. Applying one or more filters allows us to focus on the number of credentials earned by a student subpopulation like first-time full-time students who are Pell Grant recipients.
Now, let’s explore the dashboard quadrants. The top left quadrant describes the types of questions that this dashboard answers like the number of credentials conferred by your institution and the time it takes the average student to earn a credential.
Also in this quadrant, we find the dimensions for this dashboard, which are the same as the global filters.
To the right of the dimensions drop-down, we find the “Select Chart” toggle option we discussed earlier.
The chart in the upper right quadrant is a line chart that shows us the average time to credential disaggregated by credential type by academic year.
For the 2017-18 academic year, we see that it took 3.9 years, on average, for students to complete a certificate, while it took 3.5 years, on average, for students to complete an associate degree. And looking across academic years, those values are fairly consistent.
This chart is only impacted by global filters, not dimensions.
Now, let’s look at the lower left quadrant. This stacked bar chart measures the proportion of credentials conferred by credential type. If we hover over the orange 2017-18 academic year segment, we see that 89.9% of credentials awarded that year were associate degrees with a total count of 7,211. Hovering over the blue segment, we see that 10.1% of credentials awarded were certificates with a total count of 814.
And looking across the other academic years, we find those values are consistent. This chart is only impacted by global filters, not dimensions.
Now, let’s look at the lower right quadrant. This chart can be changed by the Select Chart toggle option.
Let’s leave this option on “Total Credential Count”. Here, the chart shows the total credential count awarded. The x-axis measures the total number of credentials awarded, and the length of the horizontal bar segment represents the number of credentials awarded by credential type. Hovering over the blue segment in the 2017-18 section, we find that 814 certificates were awarded, while the orange segment shows that 7,211 associate degrees were awarded.
Now let’s change the Select Chart toggle to “Average Time to Credential”.
We find that the chart now shows the average time it took students to complete their credentials. Hovering over the blue segment in the 2017-18 section, we find that it took an average of 3.9 years for students to complete a certificate. Hovering over the orange segment, we find it took an average of 3.5 years for students to complete an associate degree.
Another thing to note is that this chart is the only chart in this dashboard that is impacted by applying a dimension. To see that, let’s click “Select Dimension” and select Enrollment Type.
Now we see two rows of data in the lower right chart.
The top row shows the average time to credential for first-time students by academic year. Hovering over the blue 2018-19 segment, we see that students who completed a certificate in 2018-19 took 4 years to complete. Hovering over the orange segment shows that students who completed an associate degree in 2018-19 took 3.7 years to complete.
The second row shows the average time to credential for transfer-in students. Hovering over the blue 2018-19 segment, we see that transfer-in students who completed a certificate in 2018-19 took 2.9 years to complete. Hovering over the orange segment shows that transfer-in students who completed an associate degree in 2018-19 took 3.2 years to complete.
In summary, this dashboard provides important information on two key metrics.
The first metric is time to credential. The less time it takes a student to complete a credential, the quicker that student can enter the workforce in their first professional position. In addition, less time in college means that a student may incur less financial debt.
The second metric, the number and type of credentials conferred, provides a measure of the efficiency and effectiveness of institutional programs and their ability to help students through the requirements of a credential.
Thank you for joining us.