A day after a federal panel released its final report on new measures of success for community college students, the American Association of Community Colleges released its Voluntary Framework of Accountability, which tries to persuade community colleges to adopt “rigorous” performance standards and chart students’ progress.
Community colleges are under pressure to raise graduation rates, notes Inside Higher Ed.
The framework calls for colleges to track student cohorts through academic and job-training courses by ethnicity, Pell status and need for remediation.
The student-success task force’s recommendations overlap with the VFA initiative.
. . . both groups recommend including student transfers in graduation rates, which would give a more flattering picture of the sector’s performance — and a more accurate one, colleges say, given the large number of community college students who transfer to other institutions.
However, there are differences in the two efforts. For example, the association’s guidelines do not suggest that lateral transfers – from one community college to another – should be included in graduation rates, while the task force did.
Some community college presidents have worried that “participating in the voluntary accountability project will be labor-intensive and expensive,” notes Inside Higher Ed.
Collecting the data “will be a challenging process, initially,” said Alex Johnson, president of the Community College of Allegheny County, which was a pilot site. But participation will help colleges improve their performance and signal their commitment to accountability, said Johnson, who was on the framework’s steering committee.