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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 framework was designed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to serve as an accountability framework for community colleges with success measures tailored for the sector.  Developed “by community colleges, for community colleges,” the measures are defined to encompass the full breadth of the community college mission and diversity of students’ goals and educational experiences.
The statewide VFA initiative will provide the ability to benchmark student progress and completion data against peer institutions.  
The VFA has three parts:         
1) measures of student progress and outcomes;
2) measures of workforce, economic, and community development; and  
3) an approach for assessing student learning outcomes.
The division and community colleges are working together to implement the framework.  A steering committee co-chaired by Western Iowa Tech Community College President Terry Murrell and Iowa Department of Education Division of Community Colleges Administrator Jeremy Varner has been established to set the direction and oversee the statewide implementation of the VFA.  
A working group has been established consisting of community college institutional researchers and division staff.  Subcommittees have been formed to support credit, noncredit, and adult basic education reporting.
The steering committee established a goal to pilot credit data submission in the fall of 2014 with a cohort of volunteer institutions to test the data collection and exchange processes.

The submission process utilized fiscal year management information system (MIS) data supplemented by additional data elements provided by each community college.  The department then provided the MIS data to pilot community colleges for confirmation and for the addition of required elements not previously included in the MIS but necessary to comply with cohort requirements.  The data then was returned to the division, processed, and submitted to the national VFA database upon approval from the community college.  New elements will be added to MIS beginning fiscal year 2016, so only data prior to that fiscal year will be amended.

Nine institutions published the data in June, 2015.

Following the pilot, the group will move towards full implementation of the 2-year cohorts for all 15 community colleges in the fall of 2015.  The working group will explore different methods for communicating the stages of the process and provide updates on progress being made during implementation.
The VFA includes voluntary non-credit and adult literacy data components, in addition to the credit metrics being initially piloted. Sub-committees have been formed to plan implementation of these measures.
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).

VFA Data Exchange Manual

VFA Master Contacts List



VFA Official Timelines Information

The DE will provide each college with the FY14 and FY15 data sets to initiate the data exchange process - October 15, 2015

Colleges will append required VFA fields for FY14 and FY15 data sets - October 15, 2015 - December 15, 2015

Appended files due back to the DE - December 15, 2015

DE processes and posts data to VFA site – December 15, 2015 – March 15, 2016

Colleges review data summaries, provide feedback to the DE and correct concerns as needed - March 15 – May 1, 2016

Final college review and publication of data – May 2 – June 9, 2016

Last day to publish the data – June 10, 2016


Steering Committee & Workgroups


President's VFA Steering Committee

Terry Murrell (WITCC-President)

Marlene Sprouse (IHCC-President)

Michael Ash (SCC-President)

Chris Duree (IVCC-Chancellor)

Lisa Breja (IVCC-IR)

Jane Bradley (HCC-CAO)

Erin Volk (WITCC-IR)

Jeremy Varner (DE)


VFA Credit Workgroup

Cort Iverson (KCC-Dir IR)

Lisa Breja (IVCC-IR)

Erin Volk (WITCC-IR)

Nancy Dugan (EICC-IR)

Katherine Knoblock (NCC-Applications Administrator)

Connie Buhr (HCC-IR)

Janet Emmerson (DMACC-IR)

Vlad Bassis (DE)

Roger Utman (DE-Bureau Chief)


VFA Non-Credit Workgroup

Brenda Ireland (KCC-Mgr CE Ops)

Wendy Knight (NICC-Exec Dir Business & Community Solutions)

Kim Oaks (SWCC-Bus Coord)

Jolene Rogers (ILCC-Exec Dir Non Cr)

Cort Iverson (KCC-IR)

Daniel Terrian (IHCC-Economic Development)

Chris Russel (IVCCD-Dean of Students and Academic Affairs)

Vlad Bassis (DE)

Pradeep Kotamraju (DE-Bureau Chief)


VFA Guides & 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 November 24, 2015 at 8:13pm.