Background and Development

Background and Development of the VFA

The VFA is structured as a multi-phase initiative.

Phase I: Planning (Completed)

AACC, ACCT, and College Board reviewed research to identify the need for a common accountability framework among community colleges and determine potential next steps. Two reports were issued to inform the start of the VFA initiative:

Phase II: Development of Metrics (Completed)

Four VFA Working Groups and a Steering Committee comprised of more than 60 college presidents, accountability leaders, workforce development professionals, trustees, and institutional researchers--each led by a facilitator with experience in education consulting and communications—developed the VFA. The VFA Steering Committee provided top-level oversight to the working groups and AACC.
  1. Student Progress and Outcomes: defining measures such as successful completion of developmental education; credit milestone progress and course success rates; percentage of students completing certificates and degrees, transfer, and a composite overall success rate.
  2. Student Learning Outcomes: examining student learning outcomes and assessment practices across institutions to recommend ways for institutions to report learning outcomes.
  3. Workforce, Economic, and Community Development: defining measures such as successful completion of noncredit and credit workforce programs, licensure exam pass rates, job placement rates; and contributions to local economic and community development needs.
  4. Communications and College Engagement: preparing a strategic plan to achieve wide-spread, voluntary adoption of the VFA measures.
For a complete account of the VFA background, development of metrics, and outcomes to date see:
The VFA: Developing Measures of Community College Effectiveness and Outcomes
For detailed definitions of the VFA measures and instructions to calculate the VFA cohort and metrics see:
VFA Metrics Manual

Phase III: Development of VFA System and Data Tool (In Progress)

AACC created an online data tool to collect, display, and benchmark VFA data. The data tool was beta tested from late June 2013 through October 2013. All community colleges are now invited to Join VFA for the first year of data collection (November 1, 2013 to October 31, 2014).

Support for Phase II was provided by the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The development of the VFA data tool and full scale implementation to our colleges is being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.