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Home » Colleges & Universities » Postsecondary Data Partnership » Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The PDP’s interactive dashboards provide the following KPIs:

  • Credit Accumulation Rate (CAR): Provides a view of how successful students are at completing enough credits in their first academic year of enrollment to satisfy credit thresholds. Institutions can see if students are crossing the 12, 15, 24, 30, etc., earned credits threshold during their first year. To determine the institution’s CAR, the total number of first-year students who met their full- or part-time credit threshold, respectively, is divided by the total number of first-year students.
  • Credit Completion Ratio: Offers a view of how successful students are at completing the credits they attempt in their first academic year. As higher first-year credit completion rates are linked with higher credential completion rates, this metric can help identify student populations needing early intervention.A student’s individual credit completion ratio is derived by dividing the total number of credits earned in the first academic year by the total number of credits attempted. The average of all student ratios across an academic year yields the institution’s credit completion ratio for that academic year.
  • Gateway Course Completion: Shows how many first-year students successfully complete their Math or English gateway courses. First-year gateway course completion is a critical leading indicator of students’ likelihood for credential completion, which can help alert institutions about how to better support gateway course-taking and completion among new students.
  • Persistence/Retention: First-to-second-year retention and persistence rates are presented for six consecutive student cohorts. Retention describes how many students are still enrolled or who have earned a degree from the cohort institution before the end of the student’s second academic year. Persistence reflects how many students are still enrolled in their second year or completed a credential at another institution. These data are first derived by checking whether a student has attempted credits at the cohort institution in his or her second academic year. If the student’s second year data is not submitted in an institution’s course file, the PDP leverages data supplied through the Clearinghouse’s nationwide enrollment and degree reporting services.
  • Outcomes Measures: Provides a view of completion rates and other outcomes for students who attended the cohort institution by three categories: 1) those who earned a certificate or an associate, 2) those who earned a bachelor’s, and 3) those who are still enrolled at either the cohort or another institution. This information identifies groups of students for whom early intervention might boost completion and retention rates at the institution.
  • Credentials Conferred & Time to Credential: Credentials conferred reflects the academic year in which each credential was awarded, not the cohort year. Because the credentials reflected in this measurement are not restricted to the students submitted in the cohort file, a single student can have multiple credentials reflected. Credentials earned by students who stopped out for more than five years after first enrolling are excluded from this measure. Each credential type offered by the institution is available and disaggregated.

Time to credential demonstrates the length of time in years elapsed from first enrollment until the student earned an undergraduate credential. The full range of credential levels offered by the cohort institution are available across the six most recent academic years.


Participating PDP institutions also receive:

  • KPI Executive Summary: Available for institutions to use for executive-level administrators
  • Analysis-Ready File: Contains one row per student with the outcomes presented in dashboards as well as additional data elements and derived outcomes