Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: email@example.com
Community colleges have typically been evaluated by the same educational standards as their counterparts, the four-year university, despite the fact that they serve a much broader student population and have challenges of their own. Last week, Pennsylvania's fourteen community colleges became the first statewide network in the nation to adopt the American Association of Community Colleges new metrics system, the Voluntary Framework of Accountability. The metrics serve to assess how colleges perform in regards to student progress and achievement, career and technical programs and transparency in reporting results. The new standards could not come at a better time since the costs of higher education have made community colleges its largest and fastest growing sector in recent years. By 2013, colleges that adopt the framework will have access to an online system to share their performance data and see how they stack up against other colleges in the nation.