Research

Voluntary Framework of Accountability, Community Colleges

The Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) is a relatively new national accountability system to measure how two-year colleges perform in serving their students.

Community college leaders created the VFA to provide community colleges with a more accurate assessment of their success in helping students reach their educational goals. Previously existing accountability measures focused primarily on success factors for four-year institutions and did not adequately measure performance against a community college’s multiple and unique missions or take into account their role in serving a more diverse student body—including part-time students, as well as non-credit career and technical students.

Currently VFA defines three major areas of metrics.

1. Student Progress and Outcomes

  • Developmental Progress Education Measures: percent of students who progress through developmental education and into college-level work
  • Two-Year Progress and Outcome measures: percent of students who reach two-year progress points and outcomes including retention, credit thresholds, earning a credential, transferring, and still enrolled
  • Six-Year Outcome Measures: percent of students that achieve one of 9 outcomes including: 
    • Earned a bachelor’s degree
    • Earned an associate degree, then transferred
    • Earned an associate degree without transfer
    • Earned a certificate, then transferred
    • Earned a certificate without transfer
    • Did not earn a degree or certificate, but transferred
    • Still enrolled
    • Left with 30 or more credits
    • Left with less than 30 credits

2. Career & Technical Education

  • Percent of students who obtain career and technical education and achieve outcomes such as earning a certificate or credential, passing a licensure exam, gaining employment and realizing a wage gain.

3. Adult Basic Education

  • Percent of students who complete Adult Basic Education and progress into employment or college education.

In a pilot data submission, Portland Community College reported data to the VFA in 2016. In 2017, all 17 Oregon’s community colleges will participate in the VFA, with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) reporting data on behalf of the colleges.

For more information, see the overview of the background and development of the VFA. To see VFA profiles of specific community colleges, see the VFA Participant List​.

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