Setting a standard

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Publication: Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Author: Davis, Crystal D
Date published: January 5, 2012

The American Association of Community Colleges, or AACC, has developed its first performance framework for two-year colleges in an effort to establish accountability benchmarks for the schools' 13 million students. The Voluntary Framework of Accountability Metrics Manual seeks such information as completion rates for students seeking associate degrees and GEDs, data on students in career and technical education programs, as well as the breakdown of the student population by age, gender, race and Pell Grant status, among other factors. Fiftyeight colleges tested the metrics over five months before the framework was rolled out. The AACC is hoping to get organizations such as the National Governors Association and Phi Theta Kappa to sign on to the framework.

"Many traditional measures of institutional effectiveness can produce an incomplete or inaccurate picture of community college performance," AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus said in a statement. "For example, most national assessments are pegged to full-time students, but the majority of community college students attend part time. Given the increasing reliance on our colleges to educate the growing numbers of students to keep our nation competitive, it is essential that the public and policymakers understand what we do and how well we do it."

- Compiled by Crystal D. Davis

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