Table of Contents
The First Year Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard shows student success at completing enough credits from their first year of enrollment to the end of their fourth academic year. It helps measure how students are progressing toward on-time completion. The disaggregates show which students are or are not gaining academic momentum early so you can determine interventions to help them succeed.
Watch the video below to learn more about the First Year Credit Accumulation Rate Dashboard.
Which Students are Included
The dashboard calculations only include first time and transfer-in students who attempted at least one credit in their first academic year. It excludes students with “unknown” attendance types.
Full vs. Part Time Students
The PDP determines if a student is full time or part time based on the total number of credits the student attempted during their first term at your institution. We collect information each academic term to determine the number of credits required.
How It Works
Student Credit Accumulation Threshold
The dashboard calculates each student’s first year credit accumulation rate (CAR) individually based on their starting term, including summer and intersession terms. It does not calculate it based on your institution’s academic year.
The credit accumulation threshold is 15 credits per year for part time students and 30 credits per year for full time students. In other words, a part time student will need to earn 15 credits in their first year to be counted in the default calculation, but a full time student will need to earn 30 credits.
You can also view a second threshold of 12 credits for part time students and 24 for full time students. Click Select Credit Thresholds in the top left to select a threshold. The threshold will be applied to all sections of the dashboard.
Institution Credit Accumulation Rate
The dashboard calculates your institution’s CAR by dividing the total number of first-year students who met their full or part time credit accumulation threshold by the total number of first year students.
Credit Accumulation Rate
This section shows your institution’s overall CAR across disaggregated across the selected dimension. The data is displayed in lines, which show trends in first year credit accumulation from one cohort to the next.
Did Not Achieve Credit Threshold
This section displays data about students who did not meet their credit accumulation threshold disaggregated across the selected dimension. The data is shown in bars. The height of a bar shows the percentage of students who are not meeting their credit accumulation threshold, and the darker the color, the more students there are with the selected characteristics. You can hover over a bar to see the number and percentage.
Credit Accumulation Rate by Cohort
This section shows an overview of how your institution’s CAR has changed from one cohort to the next. The blue bar shows the percentage of students in each cohort who have met their credit threshold. The gray bar compares the percentage to the goal of 100%. You can hover over the blue bar to see the number and percentage of students who did and did not achieve the threshold.
Using the Dashboard
It’s best to use dimensions to explore gaps and use filters to focus on a specific interest. For example, you can use dimensions to explore CAR by race/ethnicity, then you can use filters to focus on Hispanic students.
Viewing Progress Over Time
You can select an academic year (1-4) from the menu in the top left to view CAR progress over time. For example, if the CAR for year one is 35, and it drops off in year two, you can change the cohort to year two and select different dimensions to see if specific subgroups are affected disproportionally. If you see a gap in one dimension, you can apply filters one at a time to find populations that impact the results. Then you can draw a conclusion like, “When studying the drop off in CAR in the second year, the difference between full-time and part-time students is a gap of over X%. That gap increases to X% when looking at part-time Pell grant recipients.”
You must align the academic year with the corresponding cohort years. For example, if you view year four, you must look at cohorts that began their enrollment at least four years before.
Disaggregating Year One
Another way to explore the dashboard is to look at year one and disaggregate. For example, if you see a gap in meeting CAR thresholds between genders, you can use filters to find populations in which the gap has closed or widened. You can then use the Subgroup Gap Analysis tab to determine if the gaps have changed over time.
You can also use the dashboard to answer specific questions. For example: “What is the experience of first time in college Pell recipients of color as it relates to meeting the CAR threshold? How has that threshold changed over time? Are we closing achievement gaps?”
Differences in CAR by Gender
Watch the video below to learn how to use the First Year Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard to measure the difference in credit accumulation between male and female students.
Impact of GPA on CAR
Watch the video below to learn how to use the First Year Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard to identify the relationship between GPA and CAR.
Using PDP Early Momentum Metrics as Evidence for Accreditation
Watch the video below to learn how to use the First Year Credit Accumulation Rate dashboard to research and respond to student success sections of institutional accreditation reports.