Can you go into detail what the desired outcome should look like? Are you able to post a packaged workbook (twbx file)?
I may be oversimplifying, but can you work with it as just a String data type?
Unfortunately, I don't think I can. To give a little more detail I am showing educational outcomes for different cohorts of students. So, for example, I want to show the number of students retained in year 2 and 3 (These would be the outcome years) for different cohorts (e.g. 2005 cohort, 2006 cohort). So, I think I need to have both of those variables be in date format so that I can show how retention is changing over time within and across cohorts.
Unfortunately I can't post a data file but perhaps the detail I gave in response to Matthew's question helps.
I work in education as well, and am fairly new to Tableau. Posting an example data set would be ideal in this scenario. It does take time, but if you can eliminate or change any private information, and post a packaged workbook that is the best way to get help on the forum. If this is impossible or you don't have the time, then screenshots with your dimensions/measures showing, along with a mock up of what you'd like to see instead, would be the second option to get the best response here on the forum. Jonathan Drummey did a nice write up on how to post sensitive data on the forum here:
Can you have the format changed on the back end? Do you create the tables/views yourself, or does someone else present them to you?
I can change the data on the back end and was considering doing that but I'm not sure what format to put it in to make it fit my needs.
I'll work on cleaning the file to post it. Might just take a little time.
I really appreciate the help on this.
I noticed in your initial post that you said you are working with a year measure. Typically, dates (years, months, time, any format) will be considered dimensions. My quick and dirty rule for what is or is not a measure is whether I would ever add them together or not. If so--it's a measure. If not, it's a dimension.
I think your Year 1 and Year 2 IS in fact a measure (if you remove your "labels"). You alluded to what I think will be your best path in your subsequent post that you will want to capture the years as a date data type, then perform date math between values to establish "Year #". As Tracy and Matthew mentioned, you will get the best help on these forums if you can at least include a dummy-version of a packaged workbook with your scenario set up.
This is a link to Shawn's trusty guide page for getting to a satisfying answer.