Last Spring, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association for State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) convened several task forces to begin working on bringing their proposed Voluntary System of Accountability(sm) (PDF) effort into reality. The VSA(sm) task forces now have a preliminary draft template (PDF) that’s up for comment and feedback as to the feasibility of what’s been created.
There were a couple of guiding principles the Student & Family Information Task Force used in creating this (preliminary draft) template which are pertinent to the data contained in the first two and a half pages:
- The first was that the data should be based off common, pre-existing sources of data. To accomplish this, when ever possible, the template is built on data from the Common Data Set and/or IPEDS and uses formulas and macros to pull the bulk of the data for the first two pages directly from the Excel version of the CDS.
- The second guiding principle was that the data should be presented consistently from institution to institution. The draft of this template includes a uniform set of tables and charts that will auto-generate when inserted into the Excel CDS file. There will be some points of customization (e.g., the use of the school logo in the first page header and the ability to imbed links to institutional web pages), but the idea is for each institution’s VSA(sm) to have the same information in the same place so that (for instance) pages from several institutions can be printed and placed side by side for comparison by prospective students and parents.
The data and elements that are not from the CDS/IPEDS (mostly on pages 3 & 4) are still under discussion by the VSA(sm) Task Forces and may change. You may also note that the Undergraduate Success data are not simply the typical IPEDS graduation rate; the VSA(sm) teams are working with the National Student Clearinghouse on a means of providing this expanded set of success rates to institutions.
If you work in higher ed – or are a parent or prospective student who will be trying to decide which institution to attend – please take a look at the draft template and provide your feedback to the task forces; AASCU is hosting several public forums on their website specifically for the purpose of gathering input and feedback from others. Please take a moment to voice your opinion on what is increasingly becoming an urgent issue in higher education.