Accelerated Christian Education
is an American
educational products company. It produces the Accelerated Christian
Education (ACE) school curriculum. The home office is in Nashville,
Tennessee with a customer service and distribution center in
Texas. According to a study, by 1980 there were over
3,000 Christian Schools in the United States associated with ACE.
representative states that the ACE program is, “being used in
thousands of schools and many thousands of home schools in over 100
different countries worldwide”.ACE currently serves over 7,000
schools, one government contract, and thousands of home educators
in 135 countries as of 2008.
It is an ideologically Christian fundamentalist
They list their principles in a "statement of faith" in which they
declare their belief that the Bible
, in trinitarianism
, redemptive theology
, and evangelism
Accelerated Christian Education was founded in 1970 by Dr. Donald
Howard and his wife Esther. They set about developing a biblically literalist
curriculumwhich was adopted by a number of private Christian
schools. He traveled extensively to promote ACE schools, viewing
the establishment of ACE schools around the world as a new form of
missions—he called it educational missions. According to
information on the Accelerated Christian Education website, Dr.
Donald and Esther Howard opened the first school to use the ACE
program in Garland, Texas. They started with 45 students. By 1971,
they had added 6 new schools.
ACE provides annual one day training sessions for administrators.
These are provided in different locations around the country . The
sessions focus on understanding and properly implementing the ACE
program. For Learning Center Supervisors a four day workshop is
provided yearly. The workshop is organized like an ACE classroom,
allowing the supervisor to experience the ACE system as a student
and learn how to implement the system.According to the curriculum
section on their website, the ACE “program is individualized and
nongraded” and “designed to allow students to work at their own
level of achievement”. They state that their “core curriculum is an
individualized, Biblically-based, character-building curriculum
package”. The program consists of subject areas with labels similar
to those provided in most schools. The material for the classes has
an emphasis reflecting the Christian ideas and principles of the
company. The program allows students to advance through high
school. The Accelerated Christian Education curriculum is based on
a series of workbooks called PACEs, which stands for Packets of
Accelerated Christian Education. Each subject has 12 PACEs per
grade level. The basic subjects of ACE are Math, English, Science,
Social Studies, and Word Building (spelling and word usage). Test
Keys are published for corresponding PACEs.
When a student enters the ACE system, their academic ability is
assessed, and any learning gaps are addressed. A PACE is stated to
be equivalent to three weeks of work. Students set goals of how
much work they will do in each subject each day, putting the
responsibility for their progress on the student. As the student
works individually through the PACE, they do a series of reviews,
and at the end sit a preparatory test. They then sit a PACE test.
The pass score for a PACE test is 80%, however, if a passing score
is not achieved then the student must retake the PACE until they
pass (achieve >= 80%)..
The program is used by homeschooling
families and private schools. The company provides instruction and
structure for operating a "Christian school". Schools are not
required to use the entire ACE curriculum and may augment it from
Schools that use the ACE curriculum may participate in the student
conventions. Since 1976, Regional conventions have been held
throughout the world and the top placed participants are able to
proceed to the International Convention. The International
Convention is usually held at a university campus, such as:
Indiana University in Bloomington
(1990), North Texas
University in Denton, TX (1991), Northern Arizona
University in Flagstaff (1993), Purdue University in Indiana (1994).
ACE holds an annual
International Student Convention for High School students designed
to develop leadership skills with students. The conventions augment
the curriculum by requiring students to prepare to compete in
dramatic, artistic, and athletic events. The conventions also offer
"Events of the Heart" which allows for students with mental and
physical disabilities to participate. When the conventions first
started a parade in the hosting city would accompany it.
over 3,000 students and sponsors marched in New York City to
celebrate the opening of the convention at Rutgers
Student conventions also offers speakers.
In the past speakers such as David Gibbs from the Christian Law
Association, Ben Jordan and William Murray (Madeline Murray Ohare's
Many aspects of the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum have
come under criticism from educational researchers.
- D. Flemming and T Hunt of the educational journal Phi Delta Kappa wrote in a 1987 article
regarding the emphasis on rote learning.
"If parents want their children to obtain a very
limited and sometimes inaccurate view of the world — one that
ignores thinking above the level of rote recall — then the ACE
materials do the job very well. The world of the ACE materials is
quite a different one from that of scholarship and critical
- Former President of the Division of Educational Psychology for
the American Psychology Association and former President of the
American Educational Research Association, David Berliner cites a study by Speck and
Prideaux (1993) which notes the wide use of association and recall
activities in the ACE curriculum, as well as other workbook based
Speck and Prideau (1993) state,"The work consists of
low-level cognitive tasks that emphasize simple association and
recall activities, as is typical of instruction from
Despite the reviling of B.
Skinner by the Christian Right, the materials make
heavy use of behavioral objectives, programmed learning, and
- Having researched comparative performance on the ACT between
public school students from one school and ACE students from
another, private school in the same geographic area, one college
student wrote in her thesis in 2005,
"a significant difference was found between the public
school graduates' scores and the ACE graduates' scores in all areas
of the ACT (English, Math, Reading, and Composite Score), except
the area of Science Reasoning.
Overall, the ACT scores of the ACE graduates were
consistently lower than those of the public school
- In the past, ACE has included controversial material in its
curriculum. For example, a section from a high school packet
regarding Apartheid in South Africa states as follows:
"Although apartheid appears to allow the unfair
treatment of blacks, the system has worked well in South Africa
Although white businessmen and developers are guilty of
some unfair treatment of blacks, they turned South Africa into a
modern industrialized nation, which the poor, uneducated blacks
couldn't have accomplished in several more decades.
If more blacks were suddenly given control of the
nation, its economy and business, as Mandela wished, they could
have destroyed what they have waited and worked so hard
- :: Accelerated Christian Education :: About Us
- Microsoft Word - ISC Guidelines Section I Final
- :: Accelerated Christian Education :: Conventions
- THOUSANDS OF YOUNGSTERS IN PARADE FOR CHRISTIANITY
parade - Free Preview - The New York Times
- Hunter, 1987, cited in Speck & Prideaux, 1993
- An Analysis of Accelerated Christian Education And
College Preparedness Based on ACT Scores by Lisa J.L.
- David Dent, "A Mixed Message in Black Schools," NYT 4/4/93,
Education Supplement, p. 28.