Jan. 11, 2011, Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College was selected as
one of 40 community colleges in the country to pilot a new Voluntary Framework
of Accountability (VFA) that is designed to redefine the term "success” for
two-year institutions nationwide.
The VFA is the first national system to provide accurate data,
operational transparency and the ability for colleges to benchmark student
progress and completion data against peer institutions. It is being developed
by the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) in collaboration with
the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and the College Board,
with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina
Foundation for Education.
"It’s important for Montgomery County Community College to be
engaged in the VFA pilot, not only to provide insight regarding the framework,
but also to learn from and share best practices with other institutions across
the country,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President. "This initiative is
consistent with the College’s focus on data-informed decision making, and
supports the anchor of the College’s strategic plan—to expand access and
increase student success.”
Dr. Stout has taken a national leadership role in the
initiative, working with a team of community college professionals to develop custom
metrics for the pilot in the area of student persistence and outcomes. She has
also helped to position the VFA as a critical tool among colleague presidents
and trustees through presentations at AACC and ACCT.
Starting in mid-January, MCCC, along with the other pilot
institutions, will begin to test the custom metrics in the VFA. Because it is
being developed in stages, project leaders will propose additional measures as
the participating institutions report outcomes and assess how well they gauge
In late January, the AACC will make available all the
resources provided to the pilots so that any institution will be able to
calculate the proposed VFA measures, understand the pilot testing process and
learn more about the VFA.Added to
the pilot testing, AACC will develop mock-ups for what could be built as the
VFA data collection and display tool, and share the preliminary designs during
the AACC annual meeting and via virtual meetings in the second half of 2011.
Pending the outcomes of the pilot testing, reaction to the
VFA among AACC member institutions, and future funding, a full-scale rollout to
the nation’s close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges could take
place starting in 2012.
The VFA project fills what community college advocates have
seen as a void in measures appropriate to the unique two-year college mission.
"Many traditional measures of institutional effectiveness
don’t work well for community colleges,” said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC President
and CEO. "For example, most are pegged to full-time students, and the majority
of community college students attend part-time. Our overarching goal is to
develop measures appropriate to our mission that clearly tell students and
policy makers how we’re doing.”