Evaluation of the Academy for College Excellence: Year 1 interim report
The number of underprepared students entering the nation’s community colleges every year is substantial, and significant resources go into remedial education programs that seem to be ineffective and do little to inspire students to pursue further education. Understanding how effective programs work, and how such practices can be shared, is critical. One model that has shown promise in a number of initial studies is the Academy for College Excellence (ACE), founded at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, in 2002. MPR Associates (MPR) of Berkeley, California, is conducting an evaluation of the ACE model as it is implemented at seven community colleges, including Cabrillo College (Los Aptos, CA) Hartnell (Salinas, CA), Los Medanos (Pittsburg, CA), Las Positas (Livermore, CA), Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), Delaware County (Media, PA), and Southwest Virginia (Richlands, VA).
The goal of the 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 com-munity colleges with the desire to better their lives but without the academic qualifications, professional skills, and personal behaviors necessary to succeed, ACE has intentionally served a majority of students with multiple challenges related to poverty and discrimination. For all participating students, the goal is to develop professional career skills and the ability to navigate the professional work culture that includes the organizational and study skills, motivation and self-confidence, and academic skills needed for college success.