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ERIC Number: EJ1092027
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1067-1803
On Their Terms: In the Drive for Accountability, Community College Leaders Define Their Own Measures of Success
Boerner, Heather
Community College Journal, v85 n4 p18-20, 22 Feb-Mar 2015
As community colleges work to improve completion rates, these institutions are also developing homegrown metrics that better represent how they are really doing--and, in many places, these metrics are driving the reforms necessary to improve. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) defines student success as the number of full-time students who enroll for the first time in the fall semester and graduate with an associate degree within three years. The problem is that this definition describes only about 40 percent of community college students nationwide, according to data from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College. President Obama's Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) would attempt to rate two- and four-year colleges according to several benchmarks, including graduation rates and number of low-income students. If implemented, PIRS could determine how the federal government doles out dollars for higher-education institutions. Critics of PIRS suggest the federal government's ratings system attempts to measure community colleges using metrics tied to a single definition of success--in this case, degree completion--and that it does not take into account the many different goals of students enrolled at community colleges. These limitations have led many of the nation's two-year career and technical colleges to draft their own definitions of student success. This article discusses using metrics more applicable to community colleges for measuring student success, and highlights the California Community College Student Success Scorecard and the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA). Michigan's Jackson College--which piloted the VFA, the national accountability initiative led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)--is highlighted for its use of twelve metrics of success and progress. Among these metrics are persistence; developmental education; diversity; instruction; student learning; equity; creating clear pathways to completion; and certificates, transfers, and degrees earned.
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A