campus partner(s)

Appalachian College Association






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

Alice Brown

Appalachian College Association

Grant Summary

$149,650 over 23 months. In 2002, under a grant from the Spencer Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Appalachian College Association (ACA) completed a study of alumni from the member colleges (all small private colleges in central Appalachia) and from a comparison group of public colleges, looking at graduates from five, fifteen and twenty-five years back and measuring the impact of the college experience on the lifestyles of the graduates. In 2005-2006, a new study, funded by Teagle, will focus on the academic gains, through the junior year, of students at 21 of the 35 ACA colleges. The resulting data will enable the colleges to analyze the effects of their primary academic program areas and make comparisons with normative data from across the nation as well as within the participating ACA colleges. Using the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiencies (CAAP), a test that has been available for more than 15 years, the project will allow the colleges to measure student progress in the acquisition of academic skills in general subject domains. Since most ACA students will have taken the ACT prior to entering colleges, the results of the CAAP tests will allow comparisons between pre- and post-college experiences to provide estimates of intellectual gains in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science and critical thinking. This project is intended to expand existing knowledge concerning the progress of students in these academic areas, looking at growth in a cross section of the academic domains to gain diagnostic as well as summative information. The results will provide us with a wealth of information, reflecting the progress our students make over time so that the colleges can adapt their academic programs to address areas of weakness.