An important aspect of the Accountability System is to help improve institutional performance, not just measure it. The CB uses the institutional peer groups to support the improvement aspect of accountability because the size of the peer groups gives all the institutions the ability to actively participate in their groups.
For the first time in 2007, the CB gave a formal assignment to the peer groups. The assignment was intended to increase peer group knowledge and use of accountability data and to enhance peer group interaction and collaboration. The groups were asked to select several success measures of particular importance to their institutions and to prepare short reports concerning: what the data says about the group’s members and best practices that the institutions have found most significant to performance improvement. CB staff did prepared initial data and drafts. Instructions for structuring the individual peer groups’ reports were minimal so that each report would reflect the institutions who contributed to its preparation.
The groups made the decision what information to include in the reports, how to present it, and the level of detail used. These reports, which are the result of team work of all the institutions involved, are important for sharing results, but the conversations in the groups about best practices are crucial to the improvement process.