Evaluation of the Academy for College Excellence: Report on academic outcomes (Spring 2010-Spring 2011)
The goal of the Academy for College Excellence (ACE) program is to develop a national model for recruitment, preparation, retention, and acceleration of underprepared community college students. Centered on the belief that underprepared students, especially disadvantaged young adults, often enter community colleges with the desire to better their lives but without the academic qualifications, professional skills, and personal behaviors necessary to succeed, ACE has intentionally focused on students with multiple challenges related to poverty and discrimination.
The ACE program is one semester long and consists of a) a two-week intensive Founda-tion Course that focuses on personal development and prepares students to be successful in college and b) a 12–16 week Bridge Semester of accelerated academic courses, including a project-based research course. The program is unique in that the students move through both portions of the program as a cohort, with a program design that consciously creates and develops, through curriculum in the classroom, a peer-support network that also facilitates their persistence and success in the program. ACE serves a varied student population. Almost all students are identified by ACE as either “at risk” or “high risk” but vary on other characteristics such as age, race, and gender.