VFA Phase II (Sept. 2009 - Aug. 2011)
Phase II will result in the final definitions of the VFA, a plan for how to collect and deliver the metrics, and a plan to market the final product to all community colleges. The project will be accomplished through the work of a steering committee, working groups, and input from community college professionals nationally.
Steering Committee: AACC, in collaboration with the ACCT and The College Board, is providing top-level management for the project. The VFA Steering Committee comprising community college presidents and nationally recognized experts in the field have informed the charges to the working groups and are providing direction to the working groups and project staff.
Working Groups: Four working groups are developing and refining the VFA metrics. They also are creating a strategic plan to guarantee broad participation in the VFA once it goes "live".
The first working group focuses on student persistence and completion measures including more traditional metrics such as retention, transfer, and completion. Other metrics will be explored to identify ways to measure student progress toward completion such as reaching credit milestones.
The second working group focuses on student learning outcomes and is identifying appropriate learning outcomes for community college students and discussing a process and method for properly assessing and reporting learning outcomes.
The third working group examines metrics related to workforce, economic, and community development. These metrics are a critical part of what community colleges do and must be considered in any framework that attempts to assess the efficacy of community colleges. While metrics developed by this working group may not be readily available in current data collections of colleges, it is hoped that their inclusion in this framework will drive more colleges to collect and report these metrics.
The fourth working group is developing a marketing plan to gain universal community college buy-in for a voluntary framework of accountability. This group reviews feedback on college reactions (acceptance and resistance) to participating in the VFA, and develops messages that can be used to promote widespread use of the VFA. The working group also helps to inform the conceptual development of the data collection and display tools for the project. Part of the planning will be the development of benchmarking capabilities for the data tools, and this group, in combination with the two data groups, will help shape those metrics.
AACC is providing full-time staff for the project including coordination of the steering committee and the working group activities.
Once the working groups have developed the final draft metrics for the VFA, pilot colleges will be asked to volunteer to test the metrics. AACC seeks a diverse set of pilot colleges in order to determine colleges’ ability to use their own data to prepare the metrics. Because some colleges rely on state-level data systems and others are independent of such data sets, it will be important to have a mix of pilot colleges. The steering committee and project staff developed the criteria for the request for proposal to select pilot colleges. Learn more about the pilot selection process and access the RFP here.
Funders: Phase II of the VFA is supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education.