The Adaptive Courseware for Early Success (ACES) Initiative was a grant-funded initiative supported through the Every Learner Everywhere network. In total, thirteen colleges and universities from Ohio, Texas, and Florida participated in this initiative from 2019 through 2021. Six 4-year universities, which are members of the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) received direct guidance and support from the Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC), located in the Office of Digital Transformation for Student Success (DTSS).
The goals of ACES were:
- To redesign critical gateway courses taught by faculty committed to integrating equity-centered, evidence-based teaching practices that are enhanced by adaptive courseware
- To create more equitable student outcomes by improving learning and educational experiences for poverty-impacted students, racially minoritized students, and first-generation students
Over the course of two and a half years, the PLC provided intensive coaching, peer-mentorship, collaborative learning and networking opportunities, and educational resources and training to cross-functional, institutional teams at select institutions. These institutions received further support and benefits from the Every Learner network partners, including Achieving the Dream and Digital Promise who offered collaborative learning with participating two-year institutions and program evaluation support, respectively.
UToledo was already working toward improving outcomes in gateway courses through a redesign of the first-year experience. The institution outlined goals to increase the retention of students from underrepresented populations through its Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (University of Toledo, 2020). Research has found that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous college students are less likely to obtain a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree after receiving a grade of “D” or lower in a gateway STEM course compared to White students, even after controlling for intent and academic preparation (Hatfield et al., 2022). UToledo hoped to strengthen its existing efforts to integrate adaptive courseware into math and chemistry gateway courses, while also increasing retention rates for students in anatomy and physiology gateway classes.Download the ACES Case Study: University of Toledo