Using the Dashboards

Dashboard Metrics

Watch the video below to learn about the metrics used in the PDP dashboards.

Early Momentum Resources

  • Adelman, C. (2006). The toolbox revisited: Paths to degree completion from high school through college. Washington, DC: Department of Education.
  • Attewell, Heil & Reisel. (2012). What is academic momentum? And does it matter? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
  • Belfield, Jenkins & Fink. (2019). Early momentum metrics: Leading indicators for community college improvement. New York: Community College Research Center.
  • Belfield, Jenkins & Lahr. (2016). Momentum: The academic and economic value of a 15 credit first semester course load for college students in Tennessee. New York: Community College Research Center.
  • Complete College America website: Momentum Year.

We provide access to our dashboards through a free web version of Tableau. Watch the video below to learn how to navigate the basic institution-level PDP dashboards.

Using Dashboard Sections

Dashboards are comprised of several sections. Most of the functionality is located at the top, and below that are the visualizations. You can scroll down to see each visualization.

At the top left, you will find the Dashboard Title and, if applicable, the tab dropdown selections to its right. Tab dropdowns vary by dashboard and may include additional Subgroup Gap Analysis and Details visualizations.

On the top right, there are the Download and Reset Dashboard buttons. Download provides a menu of options for saving your dashboard visualizations and data to a file. The Reset Dashboard button removes any changes you made to the dashboard, including any filters or data source selections, and resets it to the original default values.

Each dashboard includes a Definitions and Visualizations Guide accordion. When expanded, you get additional helpful information for each dashboard.

If you have access to multiple institutions, you will see an Edit button on the Data Sources accordion. Click Edit to make your institution selections.

Use the Organizational Grouping and Institution Type filters to limit the institutions in the Select an Institution filter. Select one or more institutions and click Apply Settings. You can Cancel Changes within the pop-up to start over with your recent edits. Select Clear All to remove all selections within the pop-up.

You can click the down arrow/caret on the Data Sources accordion to see more detail regarding your Data Source institution selections.

NOTE: Benchmark dashboards require that Data Source selections be made before the visualizations are loaded or other functionality is enabled. See the individual benchmark dashboard articles for details.

The Chart Settings accordion contains any dimension and general (global) filter options. Below that there may be Dashboard Settings filters, which are unique to each dashboard. The individual visualizations themselves may include other option selections.

Using Dimensions and Filters

You can disaggregate data on any dashboard by different student characteristics called “dimensions.” You can also apply filters to further refine dashboard data.

Click the Edit button on the Chart Settings accordion to open the Dimension and Filter pop-up.

Make any dimension and filter selections and click Apply Settings to apply them to the dashboard. You can Cancel Changes within the pop-up to start over with your recent edits. Select Clear All to remove all selections within the pop-up.

Select Dimension Breakdown at the top and choose the dimension you want to view from the drop-down. Once applied, the applicable visualizations will then be disaggregated by that dimension. You can only select one dimension at a time. To clear the dimension, select Overall from the Dimension Breakdown list.

Make filter selections to limit the dashboard data. There is no limit to how many filters you can apply. To clear all choices for a given filter, select All from the filter dropdown list. Click the caret or anywhere outside the filter dropdown to close the filter pop-up.

Filter selections will include all possible options. Your data may or may not include those values.

After you finalize your filter and dimension selections, click Apply Settings. The Chart Settings pop-up will close, and your visualizations will be updated to reflect your selections. You will see your dimension and filter selections on the collapsed Chart Settings accordion. You can also click the down arrow/caret to see more detail regarding your Chart Settings filter selections.

Any Chart Settings dimension and filter selections will be applied to all tabs on the dashboard, but they will be cleared if you navigate to another dashboard.

You can additionally refine the data by applying Dashboard Settings filters, which are found below the Chart Settings accordion. Because these values are dashboard-dependent, not all dashboards will have them.

Any Dashboard Settings selections will be lost when you navigate between tabs of the dashboard. You will need to apply or reapply them for each visualization.

If you apply a large number of filters, the dashboard may not display any data. The dashboards hide values of 10 or fewer. You can view more information about the data on the Details tab.

Watch the video below to learn more about the PDP dashboard dimensions and filters.

Using Tabs

Subgroup Gap Analysis

You can use the Subgroup Gap Analysis tab on any dashboard to compare differences between two student subgroups. First, select a dimension, then use the checkboxes to select two elements (you can only select two at a time). The data is displayed in two circles with a bar in the center, which represents the gap. You can hover over a circle to see the percentage point gap for different student demographics.

Watch the video below to learn more about using the Subgroup Gap Analysis tab.


The Details tab displays each cohort with six fixed dimensions in a table. You can hide a dimension by clicking the minus sign next to the dimension column in the table. This will also hide any columns to the right of the dimension except for the cohorts displayed.

Use Cases

Identifying Equity Gaps

Watch the video below to learn how a four-year institution uses early momentum dashboards to look at the current state of student success and make recommendations on ways to improve.

Deciding When to Transfer

Watch the video below to follow a two-year institution as they use the Transfer dashboard to learn when the best time is for students to transfer to increase the likelihood of their earning a credential from their institution.

Transfer Student Success Program

Watch the video below to learn how to use the dashboards to better understand the profile of transfer-in students and their short-term and long-term outcomes.

Understanding the Impact of Recruitment on Student Success

Watch the video below to follow a four-year institution’s student success committee as they explore the dashboards to learn if the recruitment strategy six years ago resulted in a more diverse first-year class.

Using the PDP Benchmarking Dashboards for Accreditation Requirements

Watch the video below to follow a four-year institution as they use the benchmarking dashboards to research their completion data in relation to regional accreditation.

Calibrating Performance through Benchmarking

Watch the video below to learn how to determine how your students’ transfer-out rate compares to a group of their peers.


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