Education Technology

data visualization of progress towards degree and financial aid awareness


  • Marc Fox, Senior Director, Enterprise Systems, CSUS
  • Shiva Pillai, Strategic Data Analyst, CSUS

CSU Grad Initiative 2010: Sac State’s “Challenge”

  • Increase grad rates
  • Systemwide grad rate: just over 50% of students graduate in 6 years
  • Sac State grad rate: just over 43% of students graduate in 6 years
  • Goal: increase 6 year FT from 43% – 51%
  • Goal: increase transfer rate from 63% – 68%

Theme Group & Directives

  • ID students who are making progress
  • Develop new ways to assign registration appts in supporting this goal
  • Find ways to recognize and report a student’s progress toward degree


  • How to measure?
  • Develop a points system based on student’s progress towards their degree – measuring completion of acad reqs in their academic program?
  • Keep it simple, fair, and easy to explain

Points system for measuring progress to degree (points do NOT equal to units/credit hours)

  • GE reqs: 40 points (lower division GE: A=7.5, B=7.5, C=7.5, D=7.5, E=3.0) Upper division GE: 7.0 (total GE points)
  • Major reqs: 50 points (Declare a major=8, Major=42 points; pre-majors/impacted majors 14, associated majors = 28)
  • Additional reqs: 10 points (<150 units/credits=5, academic good standing=5)

Q: did academic senate need to approve? Yes, they did weigh in.

Registrar’s Math

  • Degree audit driven by requirements group (RG)
  • Partial completion of RG deserves partial points
  • Keep it fair

And then..why not

  • Meters are visible to students, advisors, administrators
  • Real time in self service: progress meters calculated in real time
  • Snapshot for registration appointments: snapshot of the progress meters is taken the weekend prior to assigning registration appointments.

Keys to Degree Toolbox icons/links are located on a static web page that make access to these tools easy.

Self Service – Real Time Meters

  • Only 1 CAAR report value in the SAA_ADB_RESULTS table
  • Meters are calculated real time with SAA_ADB_RESULTS table
  • TCe/Substitutions/Grade changes effective immediately
  • CAAR reports are batch updated at key points in time during term for all undergrads


  • Priority Groups: vets, students with disabilities, athletes, honors program
  • Grad Seniors: current semester, subsequent semester
  • Total # of units earned: seniors, Grads Juniors, Sophomores, Freshman
  • 2014 seniors were allotted registration appointments based on progress to degree reports

Overall: we’re getting our most efficient and productive students out quicker.

Student Response

  • Easy to understand the progress meters
  • Real time data
  • Accurate
  • Early turning in substitution and waivers
  • Prompt submission of e-transcripts or late transcripts
  • Impact of multiple major changes

Batch Advisement Processes

  • ADMIN – CAAR Batch
  • Last weekend of each month
  • Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors
  • Seniors run separately
  • Run time @ 36 hours
  • Refresh tables for accurate reporting

Reporting – Query/Data Warehouse

  • Student progress by dept/plan/class level
  • Combine progress to degree data with any other tables

Other stuff we did

  • We created Financial Aid FA Meters for Pell Grant, State Grand, and Federal Load
  • We also added a what-if progress to degree comparison tool within
  • Future development: cloud, mods & bolt-ons, new technology?
  • FluidUI
  • iPaaS
  • Tableau/EAB/Civitas/Salesforce


By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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