Cal Answers

Cal Answers LinkCal Answers is the reporting environment for student data in UC Berkeley’s enterprise data warehouse. This analytical tool makes data widely accessible and provides reliable, consistent answers to critical campus questions. As the SIS Project heads toward full implementation in 2016, both project and Cal Answers staff are working to re-source the student data shown in Cal Answers, pulling it from the new integrated Campus Solutions database rather than the disparate collection of source databases used until now.

Since the new SIS does include a very robust set of reports, one question you may have is when to use those reports and when to use Cal Answers.
 

  Cal Answers   OR  

SIS Reporting

 

Point in time

   

Real-time

Trend data

 

Current/recent data

Designed for analytical use

 

Designed for operational use

         

For example, you would use Cal Answers in these cases:

  • You want to know the official student census counts for a department over the last 5 years.
  • You want to see time to degree data for a particular major.
  • You want to see counts of doctoral degrees awarded, and be able to drill down from the campus total to a specific major.
  • You want to see the distribution of grades for a particular class.
  • You want to see course enrollments in specific departments, subjects, and courses over the last 3 years.
  • You want to see the total and average loan amounts for UC Berkeley students over the last 3 years.
  You would use SIS Reporting in these cases:
  • You want a list of the classes being taught by a specific instructor in the current term.
  • You want to see capacities for all of the general assignment classrooms in a specific building.
  • You want to identify classes in the current term that have enrollment, but a problem with the instructor assignment.
  • You want to identify classes that have nonstandard meeting patterns.
  • You want to see responses to UC Berkeley’s admissions offer for graduate students in a specific plan (graduate program).
  • You want to identify students who currently have incomplete items on their Statement of Legal Residence checklist.
             

 


EDW/SIS Crosswalk

The initial release of the work to source Cal Answers from the new SIS will result in minimal changes to the student subject areas and dashboard reports in Cal Answers. Where there are changes, we have created a crosswalk to help you understand the initial differences.

 

Concept Changes

Old

New

Census

Census dates vary for student counts and course enrollments.

The student census count and the course enrollment census will occur as snapshots taken early in the morning of the 5th Saturday following the start of instruction for Fall and Spring semesters.  For summer sessions, the census snapshots will occur on the 2nd Saturday following the start of instruction.

Concurrent Enrollment

The existing campus enrollment systems do not capture UC Berkeley Extension concurrent enrollments, so they do not appear in Cal Answers.

Although the new SIS will begin to capture concurrent enrollments, incorporating them into Cal Answers dashboards will require fairly extensive changes to data warehouse tables and to the reports themselves.  The initial release of the dashboards using SIS data will therefore continue to not include concurrent enrollments.  We will add them in as a future project.

Individual Majors

Students who create their own individual interdisciplinary major program in the Graduate Division and College of Environmental Design are assigned a unique major code, so that the name of the major can appear on the transcript in current student systems.

All individual majors will be attached to a plan designed for those programs in the new SIS, with the name of the major appearing as a transcript note.  In Cal Answers, these plans will roll up to a major-level item called "Individual Major," as they do now.

Interdisciplinary Majors Some major programs that existed until the late 1980s and very early 1990s are incorrectly listed as interdisciplinary majors under either the Graduate Division or the Undergraduate Studies Division. These majors are now correctly reported under the relevant departments in the College of Letters & Science.

Joint Majors

Undergraduate joint majors are split across the administering departments (and colleges in some cases).

Joint majors will be reported in only one place in the campus hierarchy.  This is a requirement for the trees that we're now using to represent the hierarchy (they only allow things to appear in one place), but it will also greatly simplify querying and reporting.  Joint majors between two College of Engineering departments will appear under a unit in the college called, "Engineering Joint Programs."  The two joint majors that cross the Colleges of Chemistry and Engineering will appear under their administrative home, the Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering.

JSD Degrees JSD (Doctor of the Science of Law) degrees are reported under the "Professional" level. Graduate Division and the School of Law have agreed to report JSD degrees under the "Doctoral" level.

Majors

Students are declared within a major program.

Students will be attached to a plan in the new SIS.  A plan is the combination of a major and a single expected degree.  Since undergraduate major programs only grant one degree (either a BA or a BS, but not both), there's very little difference between majors and plans for undergrads.  There can, however, be multiple graduate degrees offered under a single major, so there can be several plans corresponding to a single major at that level.  For existing dashboard reports that display data at the major level, we will simply roll up multiple plans within the major to which they belong.

Registered Student Data Demographic/academic data for registered students appears on a historically-determined schedule. Because campus is doing a phased cutover from the old system to the new SIS, some data elements for Fall 2016 enrolled students will be available earlier than others.  For example, in order to determine graduate student levels, we will need information that won't be implemented in SIS until late June. 
Reporting Hierarchy Changes Cal Answers currently does not reflect recent campus reporting hierarchy changes. All campus reporting hierarchy changes that have been approved and announced will appear in Cal Answers.  This includes changes such as the undergraduate majors in International & Area Studies and Cognitive Science moving from the L&S Undergraduate Division to the L&S Social Sciences Division.  As has always been the case, reporting hierarchy changes like this will update all historical data in Cal Answers so that trend analyses continue to make sense.
Visitors Visiting students are reported in several inconsistent locations. All visiting students are reported in a single location, under the "Other EVCP Programs" unit.

Weekly Snapshots

Cal Answers takes weekly snapshots of student data, both before and during each semester.

This will continue to work the same way.  For Fall 2016, however, there will be some timing issues with the new SIS implementation going live at the same time.  For Fall 2016 only, we anticipate that weekly Cal Answers snapshots will start no later than June 5th, which is the beginning of Week -10.  From Spring 2017 forward, we should be able to return to the usual snapshot schedule.

 

 

Data Element Changes

Old

New

Census and Current Status Codes

Census Status Code and Current Status Code are two different fields in the Student subject areas.

Because the census status is now just the current status as of the end of the 5th week of instruction, we will only populate one student status field.

First/Sec Major - Second Joint Major

These fields were populated for undergraduate joint majors.

These fields will no longer be needed, since a value of "J" will appear in the Major_Type_Cd field, and joint majors will only be reported in one place in the campus hierarchy.

Major Type Cd

The Major_Type_Cd field (which indicates whether a student is a single, double, triple, joint, or individual major) is somewhat inconsistent between subject areas and only appears in Students-Degrees and Students-Registered Flattened.

Major_Type_Cd will appear consistently in the Students-Degrees and Students-Registered Flattened subject areas.  We will expand the range of values from the current "S" (Single Major), "D" (Double Major), "T" (Triple Major), "I" (Individual Major), and "J" (Joint Major) to include "4", "5", and "6" for quadruple, quintuple, and sextuple majors.

Primary Major

The Students-Registered Flattened subject area includes primary, first, second, and third major fields.  The first/second/third fields are filled in for individual, double, and triple majors.  Primary major is always filled in, although it will only have values of "002" or "003" for double and triple majors.

We will use major 1 through major 6 in place of the existing fields, so the primary major field will go away.  Since this is a change to the available fields in the subject area, some existing queries will need to be updated to use the new fields.  The removal of the primary major field also means that you can't use the old "002" and "003" values in that field to identify double and triple majors.  You would now use the Major_Type_Cd field to identify different kinds of majors (or simply see which of the major 1 - 6 fields are filled in).

Reporting Unit Names The Short_Nm values for colleges, divisions, etc. that are used on most dashboards are limited to 25 characters. Campus Solutions will allow short descriptions to be up to 30 characters in length.  So, we've taken the opportunity to expand some awkwardly abbreviated names (e.g., "Goldman School Pub Pol" will become "Goldman School Public Policy").  This change may require updates to any personally saved queries that filter on name values, rather than codes.
School Term Degree Expected Dt The Semester Event Info > Academic Activity Info > School_Term_Degree_Expected_Dt field that appears in several student subject areas contains values in the format "YYT" (e.g., "154" represents Spring 2015 and "152" represents Fall 2015). We will rename this field to something more descriptive of its actual values, Degree_Expected_Year_Term_Cd.  It will contain values in the Campus Solutions term format, "CYYT" where T is defined as:  2=Spring, 5=Summer, and 8=Fall (e.g., "2152" represents Spring 2015, "2155" represents Summer 2015, and "2158" represents Fall 2015).  We will also convert the historical data in the School_Term_Degree_Expected_Dt field into this new format.

Student ID

Students have a system-generated 8-digit ID.

All students with an existing 8-digit ID will keep that ID in SIS.  Students who are new to UC Berkeley as of Fall 2016 will receive a system-generated 10-digit ID, beginning with the seed number 3030000000.

Total Prorated Student Major Cnt In the Students-Degrees and Student Counts-Degrees subject areas, this misnamed field is intended to count prorated degrees awarded, although it's not always consistent in how it treats simultaneous (cross-college) degrees. This field will eventually be replaced by correctly named fields that count prorated degree recipients and prorated degrees awarded, but we're leaving the field in place for now to avoid breaking existing queries.  We have made its calculation consistent over time, however, so that it counts unique combinations of Student ID, Degree Cd, and College Cd.