Thursday, March 15, 2012

Academy for College Excellence Longitudinal Study and Updates

Newest Longitudinal Study 
From its launch nine years ago, The Academy for College Excellence has invested in rigorous, third-party evaluation to study the impact of its learning solutions. We are now engaged in our third longitudinal student outcomes study, to assess the effect of the ACE learning model on attitudes and behaviors, as well as the academic outcomes, of students across the six community colleges who are participating in a semester of ACE-designed programming. MPR Associates, our research partner, has completed the first preliminary report on this study which describes promising findings.

Measuring psychosocial (or affective) vulnerabilities at three different measurement times (before entering the ACE Program, following the two week Foundation Course and then at the end of the first semester), MPR reports that ACE's first semester model has a statistically valid positive impact on all eight factors measured. Results thus far show that students that complete the first semester report a marked improvement in eight affective dimensions: self-efficacy, teamwork, identity, interaction, mindfulness, describing, accepting, and observing. The report also outlines findings from a survey given to students who participated in the ACE Bridge Semester. These students report changes in behaviors such as paying attention, completing assignments, and being prepared and organized. They also reported changes in their interactions with others. These results can be attributed to the camaraderie and cohesiveness that is carefully developed and facilitated through the ACE curriculum and model.

By studying shifts in attitude and behavior along with academic outcomes, ACE is adding to the growing body of research showing that personal growth and development in students is critically important to academic, personal, and professional success. Several additional reports measuring student academic performance outcomes in this longitudinal study are forthcoming. You can review the preliminary report in full at
, as well as the many other studies on ACE learning solutions.

Change Over Time in ACE Students' Scores on CSSAS Scales, (Fall 2010 and Spring 2011) * = statistically significant
Change Over Time in ACE Students' Scores on CSSAS Scales, (Fall 2010 and Spring 2011) * = statistically significant

ACE Approach Featured in Change Magazine Article   

New webinar to explore article further

Change, THE MAGAZINE OF HIGHER LEARNING published an article called "Supporting the Students of the Future" by Diego Navarro, the Director of the Academy for College Excellence -- in its January/February 2012 issue. In his article, Diego describes the model developed by ACE to identify and understand vulnerable students and to provide interventions that meet the needs of these under-prepared students from diverse backgrounds.

Diego will be conducting a new series of free webinars further exploring the ideas he outlined in the article; to learn about the webinar, go to The next one will take place on March 23, 2012, register here. 

ACE has gained extensive experience and developed strategies that can help community colleges identify the ways that they currently work with vulnerable students, assess their existing approaches, and support changes to increase effectiveness with these students. To learn more about the latest strategies, go to 

Change Cover 


Washington State Faculty Workshop 

Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington hosted a two-day faculty experiential learning workshop in January, led by Diego Navarro. The event sold out with 55 attendees from six Seattle area community colleges, school districts and the state board. Diego shared ACE's signature experiential communication tools, helping participants improve their communication and leadership skills and providing a deeper understanding of the experiential education methodology that is the basis of the ACE curriculum.

After two full and intense days over a dozen attendees stayed late to share ideas and support each other in bringing a FELI (Faculty Experiential Learning Institute) event to their colleges. FELIs are now being planned at three colleges in Washington State this summer. ACE has also been asked to provide similar professional development workshops in other areas of the country for faculty desiring new ways to connect and work with students and each other.

"All of the communication work will be of immediate value in my work life. This is information that has the power to transform our ability to help students succeed. Overall a successful 2 days. "  -From a participant


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