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Brookhaven College employee newsletter: Feb. 16, 2011

New System for Measuring Success Debuts

New System for Measuring Success Debuts

A new student success measurement system is currently
in its pilot stages.

The system used to measure the success rate of community colleges may soon get a face-lift.

The American Association of Community Colleges, Association of Community College Trustees and College Board are seeking to expand the scope of how community colleges are measured. The pilot for the new evaluation system uses multiple measures that track students over time, according to Michael Dennehy, associate vice president for Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness.

The new system, dubbed the Voluntary Framework of Accountability, is being tested by forty institutions nationwide. The DCCCD is participating in the pilot for VFA; data from the across District is due to the AACC in March, according to Teri Walker, district director of Institutional Research.

"VFA will tell us more about student performance and point to specific ways to improve student success and graduation rates," Dennehy said.

Currently, the federal government uses the three-year graduation rate of first-time, full-time students to rate the effectiveness of community colleges – a system that doesn’t take into account the unique goals and challenges of two-year institutions or the large number of part-time students at many institutions.

Part-time students account for more than 75 percent of the population at Brookhaven College, according to the DCCCD Fall Facts Brief.

If the pilot program is well-received by AACC member institutions and funding is made available, the VFA could become the new standard of measurement for community, junior and technical colleges by 2012.

"The current measurement system varies state-by-state, institution-by-institution, so comparing the success of community colleges in Texas is difficult," said Dennehy. "VFA will provide measures that are comparable.

The VFA project is funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.