Underlying Principles of the Curriculum
A.C.E. offers a complete, self-instructional curriculum that integrates Bible truths and character values throughout all subjects and grade levels. A.C.E. offers individualised school curriculum for Years 1 – 13. Biblical principles and concepts are interwoven into all aspects of the programme, developing critical thinking and apologetic skills, and science is taught from the Biblical perspective of creation.
The curriculum presents 90 character traits of Jesus throughout the PACE material and incorporates role modelling that promotes Biblical integrity and Christlike character.
The six core subjects provide for the students’ essential learning needs. These core subjects are Maths, English, Science, Social Studies, Word Building (including Etymology) and Literature. Academic electives, stand-alone educational software, and learning-to-read programmes are added for enhanced learning opportunities.
The curriculum is presented in the form of workbooks called PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education), and each subject consists of 12 PACEs per level. Students work daily on PACEs one at a time, in each of the subjects. Each student generally completes a minimum of 72 PACEs in one academic year; however, this varies according to the student’s ability.
Biblical principles and concepts are interwoven into all aspects of the curriculum. Each student is taught from a Biblical perspective, developing critical thinking skills which enable them to discern what truly is “…the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Romans 12:2
The ACE curriculum presents 90 character traits of Jesus throughout the PACE material and presents role modelling that promotes Biblical integrity and Christ-like character. This, along with the practice and procedures, goal setting and routines, requires students to develop Godly character 24/7.
How Learners are Supported and Motivated
In a conventional system, students progress through school based on chronological age. Research and experience have shown that this may not be the best way to teach children. It leads to classes being composed of children at many different levels of achievement. In certain countries of Europe, the accepted criterion for ‘promotion’ to a higher class is the passing of an end of year assessment. This promotion by achievement produces a desire in the student to perform well and is called ‘progress motivation’. The A.C.E. programme has adopted some aspects of this philosophy, only ‘promoting’ children on to the next unit when a satisfactory grade has been attained. Normally the pass mark is 80%, although in ‘Word Building’ [spelling] units the mark is 90%. A student must master the material before progressing to the next unit, so this method is often called 'Mastery Learning'. Assessment is by a test, which is taken at the end of each PACE. This test is ‘unseen’, that is, it is taken under examination conditions without access to the PACE material or other open books. Students take the test one day after completing the PACE. This ensures they have mastered the learning objectives and the content. Teachers and parents ensure the proper learning of the material by asking probing questions the day before the test is taken.
A.C.E. has developed and produced an individualised curriculum composed of 144 core workbooks, called PACEs, covering six subjects. A PACE is a Packet of Accelerated Christian Education, i.e. a self-study workbook. Within each PACE are activities that the students complete. There are three check-ups, which are used by the student to ascertain what they have learned so far in each section, the student may look back to find the answers whilst completing these. At the end of the PACE is a Self-
Test, which demonstrates what the student has learned in the whole PACE, the student may NOT look back to find the answers whilst completing this. The student is quizzed after each check-up and Self-Test to check their learning and knowledge of the PACE, before taking the PACE Test the following day.
A student does not start on the course at the level that his chronological age indicates. Instead, he takes a diagnostic test which determines his actual performance level. Once this is known, a prescription, or individually tailor-made programme, is created for that student.
In this way no able child is held back, and less able children can learn at a rate appropriate to their needs and without the intimidation of being considered ‘backward’ or ‘slow’.
A.C.E. uses a technique of programmed learning called linear programming. This means that a base level of ability is assumed, and children proceed through the programmed PACEs at a rate they and their supervisors determine. Motivation is maintained by the setting of short and long-term goals. As the key concept in programmed learning is mastery of concepts, regular testing ensures this. Concepts in the units are repeated several times and they are ‘drip fed’ to the student over a length of time. Programmed learning has proved to be one of the most effective ways of mastering key concepts and is used extensively by the Armed Forces, industry and commerce in training programmes.
ACE provides each child with the opportunity to truly learn the material they are studying. Mastery learning is essential for educational success. Students do not move onto a new concept until they have demonstrated that they have adequately learned the immediate material.
In Mastery Learning testing determines the student’s progress. Students are not allowed to proceed until they have demonstrated by successful testing that they have mastered the work. This is true in PACEs and in software programmes, Mathbuilder, Word Builder, Readmaster and Typemaster.
Progress Is Related to Performance Not Age
Individual learning ensures that each student performs at their ‘level’ of learning. Students on the A.C.E. curriculum are not assessed by their chronological age, but by their level of achievement. Because of this, A.C.E. level numbers should be taken as an indication of performance, not an absolute measure of ability.
Each student completes each PACE until the subject matter is ‘mastered’ before moving on to the next. A student will usually complete between 10 - 12 PACEs in each subject, each year, depending on ability. Therefore, any student completing less than this might need assessing for special needs; any student completing more than this, is likely to be ‘most able’.
On average this work is measured every three weeks; each PACE Test must be passed with a score of 90% (PACE numbers1001-1036 and all Word Building) or 80% (1037+ in other subjects). These scores are averaged at the end of every term and at the end of every year to determine the progress of each individual student and each department.
Students are encouraged in character development through examples given in each PACE.
Since every student’s ACE work is individualised, it considers ability, aptitude and previous learning. The aim is that every student by the end of their education will have gone as far as they are able through the ACE programme.
It has been recognised that “In the best schools in the country, excellent classroom practice has already established a pedagogy and culture of personalised teaching and learning.”
The emphasis in the work is upon achievement according to ability, which is rewarded with different coloured stars. Children are responsible for marking/ scoring their own work accurately. They learn how to set realistic goals for what can be achieved in each subject every day. An average of ten to twelve PACES in each subject per year is expected lower down the school however each child can work at his/ her own level/ rate.
From four-function math to algebra and differential calculus, the student learns how to approach mathematical problems in a well-grounded, step-by-step manner. Students are encouraged to recognise God as the Creator of order and absolutes.
History and Geography
Social Studies looks at World History and cultures from the perspective of God as the Creator and controller of the universe. The PACEs develop deductive reasoning and include a variety of activities, with examples of individuals who have practised the precepts of God through the ages. At ICCE level, students can study World Geography, and British and European History.
Word Building and Spelling
Word Building increases the students’ vocabulary and reinforces their confidence and capability in spelling. Basic spelling rules are introduced and illustrated, while the study of the meanings of suffixes, prefixes, and root words allows students to build new words & expand their vocabulary.
English Grammar and Usage
Proper use of English as a language is not innate in an individual, but a skill to be developed. The curriculum does this through its balanced scope and sequence, which includes extensive repetition of the eight parts of speech as well as step-by-step training in research and essay writing.
A.C.E. takes the students’ natural curiosity about their physical environment and helps them build a solid foundation based on Biblical principles. It is non-evolutionary in approach and content. At Level 8 and above, experiments are performed, and laboratory sessions are featured on DVDs.
Literature and Creative Writing
Younger students are encouraged to enjoy reading and are led through the foundational concepts of creative writing. Through study guides, older students sample Christian classics. At ICCE level, students may study modern literature, along with poetry from various periods.
Evaluation and Assessment of PACE work
Individual learning outcomes in PACE work are evaluated using:
• Goal Check Reports (GCRs): These are forms used for each student to list the following:
▪ Goals achieved.
▪ Homework completed.
▪ Demerits given.
▪ Privilege achieved.
▪ Any other useful information.
• Supervisor Progress Charts (SPCs): These are used for each student to:
▪ Compile student academic results by recording PACE test scores.
▪ Set academic projections for the school year.
▪ Ensure academic balance: This means having all PACEs on approximately the same number, with Word Building slightly ahead and putting equal effort into each subject.
• Check-ups: These are three small quizzes, set at intervals throughout each PACE, for students to check their progress and learning. Students are quizzed by the Supervisor to check their understanding of that section.
• Self-Tests: These are quizzes, at the end of the PACE, which the student uses to check their progress and learning. The student is quizzed by the Supervisor to check understanding of the whole PACE before taking the PACE Test.
• PACE Tests.
• Academic projections.
Students score their own work using score keys, they can then identify any errors, and correct their mistakes.
They also score, correct and rescore their Self-Tests, although the Supervisor ensures the marking is correct.
Students can check their own progress by way of the stars on their Student Progress Chart or Star Chart. This is a motivational tool, that encourages student progress throughout the school year.. Each student receives a star for every successfully completed test. A Gold star indicates that the student achieved 100% in the PACE Test.
Pupils’ academic and other achievements
Change in attainment over time
The change in students’ attainment levels over time, can be clearly seen using their Supervisor Progress Charts. These are compared nationally against other ACE schools.
The school also uses GL Assessments.
The school uses the International Certificate of Christian Education, which exists to provide Christian qualifications at a high standard for students studying on the Accelerated Christian Education programme throughout the world.
The International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) is a Christian qualification for secondary students across four continents. The ICCE was set up to give recognition to work completed over a number of years by students using the A.C.E. curriculum. ICCE graduates continue to gain entrance to colleges and universities around the world.
ICCE provides an excellent standard of education that successfully equips students for higher education and the workplace, while helping to develop a Christian faith that is grounded in a confident, reasoned understanding of the teaching of the Bible as the Word of God.
ICCE provides graduating students with an internationally accepted qualification that enables them to gain entrance to universities and colleges around the world and to find their place in the world of work according to their interests, aptitudes and achievements.
The Basic Certificate
This course is only for pupils with special educational needs. It covers the basic curriculum including English, mathematics, science, history, geography, information technology and Bible study. It is a record of all the work achieved by the pupils, regardless of level.
The Foundation Certificate
The Foundation is designed to meet the needs of lower attaining pupils. It may also be suitable for pupils joining the ACE programme late in their educational career, who do not have the time to complete the ICCE general certificate.
The General Certificate
The General Certificate was originally designed for those who expect to leave school at 16. However, experience has shown that many pupils are joining the ACE programme late in their educational career, often with significant educational deficiencies. Consequently, the General Certificate is often awarded to pupils who are 17 or older. It should be noted that the ICCE programme is based on the completion of the course, not the age of the pupil.
The Intermediate Certificate
The Intermediate Certificate is intended for those who wish to follow further education or professional courses. The Nursing and Midwifery Admissions Service (NMAS) has accepted the certificate (formerly called NCSC Level 2 Certificate) for entry to pre-registration courses. It has also been accepted by the armed forces for entry on officer training courses and for entrance into university.
The Advanced Certificate
The Advanced Certificate is intended for those who wish to go into higher education or study professional courses at Christian or secular colleges and universities.
Knowledge, skills and understanding
The A.C.E. curriculum provides:
▪ A solid, mastery-based, back-to-basics education for each child.
▪ A course of study diagnostically individualised to meet a student’s specific learning needs and capabilities.
▪ A program incorporating Scripture, Godly character building, and wisdom principles.
Where areas of learning are not covered by the ACE curriculum the school provides other learning opportunities with supplementary curriculum.
These are part of our distinctive school lifestyle, along with the monthly Memory Scriptures. They involve giving a prepared 3-5 minute talk on an assigned topic to the Learning Centre or a smaller group. This is critiqued and rewarded with merits; students are then enabled to press on to higher Privilege levels. Oral Reports help to train students to be an effective speaker. They also help prepare for Convention items. The younger the student speaker is the more the school encourages help from parents. Ideas for Oral Reports include: (a) my favourite book, music, holiday, activity, etc., (b) a topic from Science or Social Studies. All students after the Learning to Read programme take part.
Students use what they learn in their PACEs in other subjects such:
▪ Social Studies: includes concept of time, concept of number and dates, sequencing events and dates, understanding and comparing large numbers, using a timeline, logical reasoning.
▪ Science: includes making measurements, collecting data, comparing, and interpreting data, graphs and diagrams, estimation, logical reasoning.
▪ English: includes reading and writing numbers, time and measurement concepts in English.
▪ Biblical studies: includes time concept.
Students also use numeracy in other learning opportunities such as:
▪ Practical math: includes making measurements (distance, area, volume, timing), geometry (shapes), and estimation.
▪ Physical education: includes number concept, measurements, and practical activities of measuring distance. Children can measure heartbeat and pulse rates and recovery rates to judge their fitness.
▪ Arts: includes geometry (shapes), perspective.
ICT Readmaster Plus
Four distinct software programs included on one CD - Word Builder, Math Builder, Readmaster and Typemaster.
▪ Rewards students with special activities included on the CD
▪ Prints out a merit certificate to be used with your school merit system
▪ Prints student history reports for all programs to track student use and progress
▪ Personalises all the programs to optimise learning for individual students
▪ Provides a user-friendly environment created by similar style, appearance, and functionality of each program within the suite
Word Builder gives students additional help and drill in word usage, pronunciation, and spelling. Activities track Accelerated Christian Education’s Word Building PACE series from Level 2 through Level 8.
Math Builder is used to enhance the students’ abilities to use math facts and master all the basic math skills commonly learned in Levels 1 through 6.
This program helps readers of all ages improve their reading rates and comprehension. Based on the Christian Character Series, the program lets students actively participate in their learning processes.
This keyboarding program is designed for Levels 1 through 6. Drills and practice activities build skills and reinforce character-building principles presented in the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum.
Students develop study skills through setting their own goals and being accountable to fulfil them. They must assume responsibility for personal scoring, correction of errors and review before progressing further in the curriculum.
Students are also encouraged to write Book Reports. These involve reading a book (either from a reading list or one they choose), then writing a report on the book to include their thoughts on the Presentation (Inc. Name, Title & Author), the type of book (whether a mystery, adventure, fiction, non-fiction etc.), the plot, the theme, and their personal response. Older students need to write a more comprehensive report. This is critiqued and rewarded with merits; they are then enabled to press on to higher Privilege levels. Book Reports also help to expand knowledge of literature. Reading also helps you prepare for Short Story writing.
The school uses supplementary curriculum to enable the students to investigate in practical, group situations.
Academic and other achievements
The school runs various award schemes to help motivate the students such as:
When a student has achieved ten gold stars in a term, they qualify for the Thousands Club – which means they get a special reward.
A, C, & E Privilege Students may earn Privilege status each week. These privileges reflect responsible attitudes in daily work and relationships. They give the student greater freedom in their work environment and longer break-times. There are three levels of privilege identified by three letters A (lowest level), C, and E. Students apply for privilege on a Friday. Privilege status may be earned by working hard, learning the monthly scripture memory passage, presenting Oral Reports, writing Book Reports, and being a responsible and caring member of the school community.
Honour Roll Honour Roll is a list of those students who have (a) achieved 2 PACE Tests per week throughout the term, (b) kept academic balance, (c) said their monthly scripture passage, (d) conducted themselves consistently well. Honour Roll students go for a special outing each term in the following year. They are awarded an Honour Roll certificate at the end of the year to frame and retain.
Pre-School Certificates These are presented to Preschool students who have successfully completed the Preschool course and indicated their readiness for reading. These students will then graduate to the ABCs class.
ABCs Certificates These are presented to those students who have successfully completed the ABCs course. These students will then graduate to the next Learning Centre.
Honour Roll This is awarded to students who have completed the required number of PACEs at their ability level, learned the monthly scripture and had a good attitude.
Extreme Honour Roll This is awarded to students who have completed at least 10 PACEs above their Honour Roll target.
Highest Number of PACEs Depending on the age range of students within the school, divide PACEs into categories: PACEs 1–48, 49-84, 85+.
Graduation Awards These are for older students who are leaving with an International Certificate of Christian Education, Foundation, General, Intermediate or Advanced Certificate.
Attitudes Attitudes towards learning can be seen in the students’ PACE results, all evidenced on their Star Charts, and in their SPCs, including their ability to demonstrate initiative and independence, their willingness to work collaboratively and the extent to which they take leadership in their learning.
Pupils’ personal development Self-understanding Students are distinguished by having a high degree of responsibility over their personal goals, being determined and being of good character. They gain self-confidence through presenting their Oral Reports, and self esteem by completing goals. Having to set their own goals, which they must complete, and scoring by themselves, develops self-discipline. The school also provides supplementary lessons to build on their self- understanding, so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their lives.
Decision-making Individualised learning helps the students understand that the decisions they make are important determinants of their own success and well-being. As they complete their goals they must study and learn, they must do well in their check-ups and Self-Tests, and they must not cheat when scoring, as the success of their PACE Tests all rely on these factors.
Spiritual understanding This curriculum integrates character-building principles and scripture memory into academics. This helps children grow to see life from God’s point of view. Students are taken through the 90 character traits of Jesus Christ such as kindness, faithfulness, prudence and appreciation, among others. Students study Biblical principles and learn Scripture verses in every PACE, as well as learning a larger memory verse every month. The school also holds assemblies.
Moral understanding and responsibility for own behaviour The PACEs help the students to distinguish right from wrong, understand and respect systems of rules and laws, and accept responsibility for their own behaviour, including towards others, through stories, and examples.
Social development and collaboration
Accelerated Christian Education is more than quality academics. The curriculum is built on a theistic philosophical foundation. Students learn to see life from God’s point of view. Their personal relationship with God and their personal responsibilities to family, church, and community are of primary concern.
Contribution to others, the school and the community The students are encouraged to do jobs around the school as part of the Privilege system.
Respecting diversity and cultural understanding The Bible advocates loving your neighbour as yourself, and this is a key principle taught in this school. Specific cultural understanding and respecting diversity is covered in PSHE.
Staying safe and keeping healthy Some Science and Health PACEs cover these topics; however, these are studied in depth on supplementary curriculum.
Interactions During PACE time Supervisors and Monitors interact with the students individually. Peer to peer and group work takes place during other supplementary lessons, such as practical science, PSHE, etc. Parents are encouraged to act as Monitors in the Learning Centres. Or, if they have the appropriate knowledge and/or skills, teach supplementary lessons.