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Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA)


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An Overview

The Iowa Department of Education has partnered with the Iowa Association of Community College Presidents to implement the Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA) — a national effort to report on two-year college institutional effectiveness.

The Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA) was designed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to serve as an accountability framework for community colleges with success measures tailored for this sector of higher education. Designed specifically with community colleges in mind, the VFA contains measures which encompass and reflect the full breadth of the community college mission and the diversity of students' goals and educational experiences. Partnering with the community college presidents, the Division of Community Colleges & Workforce Development funds the VFA membership costs for the community colleges and supports the statewide initiative as a data clearinghouse to ensure consistency in data reporting.

The VFA system provides the opportunity for internal, inter-college, and state-wide comparisons and benchmarking, both in pre-set and customized groups of colleges or states. The VFA Measures are subdivided into three major categories: credit Student Progress & Outcomes (SPO), credit and noncredit Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Adult Basic Education Outcomes (ABE). SPO is based on two-year and six-year cohort tracking, while CTE and ABE track only one year cohort progress during the year and one year past the cohort’s formation.

More information about the VFA can be found at the AACC website.


VFA Brochure - A short document from American Association of Community Colleges describing the Voluntary Framework of Accountability.

Metrics Manual - This technical manual provides a detailed description of the cohorts and measures included in the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA).

Iowa Calculations Methods Manual for VFA Data Submissions



VFA Official Timelines Information

2018 VFA Reporting Schedule - updated 03/28/2018

Final draft posted: Iowa Calculation Methods Manual for VFA Submissions - 2018

Time Frame Task
3/02/18 Final draft posted: Iowa Calculation Methods Manual for VFA Submissions - 2018
3/2 - 3/30/18

Two-Year & Six-Year Cohorts and CTE Profile Data Exchange:

  • March 2: DE will provide each college with the data sets to initiate the data exchange process
  • March 2-30: Colleges will append required VFA fields for data sets
  • March 31: Appended files due back to the DE
4/1 - 5/30/17 DE processes data
5/30/18 DE uploads Two Year & Six Year Cohorts, CTE Profile & Cohort, and ABE data to VFA site and provides colleges with aggregate data reports.
6/1 - 6/30/18 Targeted data validation by Subcommittee:  Sub-committee representatives (and other interested volunteers) will review posted 2-year and 6-year cohort data in detail to ensure accuracy and integrity.
7/1 - 8/26/18

Local validation:  Colleges review Two Year & Six Year Cohorts, CTE Profile & Cohort, and ABE data summaries, provide feedback to the DE  and correct concerns as needed

8/27/18 Data is Locked within the VFA site
8/28/18 - 9/27/18 Final college review and publication of data
9/28/18 Last day to publish data


Steering Committee and Workgroups

President's VFA Steering Committee

  • Michael Ash (SCC-President)
  • Jane Bradley (HCC-CAO)
  • Lisa Breja (IVCC-IR)
  • Chris Duree (IVCC-Chancellor)
  • Terry Murrell (WITCC-President)
  • Marlene Sprouse (IHCC-President)
  • Erin Volk (WITCC-IR)
  • Jeremy Varner (DE)

VFA Credit Workgroup

  • Erin Volk (WITCC-IR) - Chair
  • Lisa Breja (IVCC-IR)
  • Connie Buhr (HCC-IR)
  • Nancy Dugan (EICC-IR)
  • Janet Emmerson (DMACC-IR)
  • Cort Iverson (KCC-Dir IR)
  • Katherine Knoblock (NCC-Applications Administrator)
  • Stacy Mentzer (ICCC-IR)
  • Vlad Bassis (DE)
  • Barbara Burrows (DE-Bureau Chief)
  • Lisa Gard (DE)
  • Zoë Thornton (DE)

VFA CTE Workgroup

  • Brenda Ireland (KCC-Mgr CE Ops) - Chair
  • Cort Iverson (KCC-IR)
  • Wendy Knight (NICC-Exec Dir Business & Community Solutions)
  • Kim Oaks (SWCC-Bus Coord)
  • Jolene Rogers (ILCC-Exec Dir Non Cr)
  • Daniel Terrian (IHCC-Economic Development)
  • Vlad Bassis (DE)
  • Lisa Gard (DE)
  • Pradeep Kotamraju (DE-Bureau Chief)
  • Chris Russell (DE)
  • Zoë Thornton (DE)

VFA Guides and Training Webinars

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has developed webinars to provide guidance and training of Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA). View the listing of available webinars

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 21, 2018 at 6:13am.