The VFA is the foundational accountability framework for our colleges for now and into the future and it gives community colleges what has long been lacking in reporting outcomes to the public and policymakers: specific metrics that assess how they do in areas such as student progress and achievement and career and technical education programs (credit and noncredit).
The data collected and shared is specific to community colleges and focused on telling internal and external audiences what they need to know to shape improvement strategies and provide resources. With better, more appropriate measures, our colleges can use the VFA for reporting to boards and local, state, and regional stakeholders; responding to calls for performance funding; shaping policy and advocacy; improving practices; identifying institutional effectiveness; and benchmarking to peer colleges.
Also, the VFA Data Tool has the potential to streamline accountability reporting and improve transparency. It enables the colleges to do more, systematically, with data than ever before. The tool gives colleges and IR staff methodologies and processes for data collection, in addition to an easy way to display and benchmark the data. The intention is to ease the burden on IR staff and, as community colleges and state systems adopt the VFA, leverage the data for multiple purposes (internal improvement, as well as external accountability) to further mitigate the burden on overly-taxed IR offices. There is enormous potential for the VFA to be the framework that satisfies a variety of reporting requirements and simplifies the work of institutional researchers, accountability and effectiveness professionals, and presidents.
The more colleges that join, the greater our voice will be.