Provides findings from an implementation study of the Accelerating Opportunity Initiative (AO), drawn from responses to a survey of 444 students that measures the characteristics, perceptions, and program experiences of AO students.

“In 2011, Accelerating Opportunity (AO) was launched to increase the capabilities of adults with low basic skills so they qualify for well-paying jobs and rewarding careers. AO focuses on accelerating access to community college occupational credentials among students with low academic skills who otherwise would languish in adult basic education or development education courses and who often fail to complete, or even enroll in, degree and certificate programs.

….. The AO model includes the following key features:

  • for-credit career pathways in which students can earn valued occupational credentials, which articulate to longer-term credit and degree programs and respond to employer demand;
  • contextualized and integrated learning, delivered through a team-teaching model where a career and technical education (CTE) instructor and a basic skills instructor work together in the same classroom; and
  • enhanced support services, such as career coaching and assistance with child care and transportation, to help students navigate college and the complexity of their personal lives, while also preparing for entry into the world of work. (p.1-2)

“This report is based on the responses of 444 students to a survey of all students currently participating in the AO evaluation in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana. The student survey was designed to provide information on students and their experiences in the program to supplement information collected through administrative data, site visits, site conference calls, and the first- and second-year college surveys. The goals of the survey were as follows:

1. to better understand the students enrolled in AO, including their pre-program experiences, work history, and family composition;

2. to understand the services received by AO students, including the amount/intensity of services received, with a goal of looking at the relationship between program experiences and student outcomes; and

 3. to get AO students’ perspectives on the program, their motivations for joining the program, and information on whether the program is meeting their expectations and needs” (p.3).

(Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Accelerating Opportunity: A Portrait of Students and Their Program Experiences from the 2014 Student Survey