Pathways to Accreditation - International Education

ACE Learning - Learning Principles

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ACE Learning Principles

While the Foundation Standards are compliance-oriented and transactional in nature, the ACE Learning Principles (LPs) are aspirational statements, more transformational than transactional, and intended to encourage schools​ ​to be reflective learning communities able to design learner-focused futures that may transform both learners and ​schools.

Learning Principles ACE 2.0

1 Learning Purposes
Learning builds understandings, competencies, knowledge, and dispositions that can be applied across different situations. Learners become responsible and successful global citizens by actively engaging with complex real-world issues.

2 Dimensions of Learning
Learners grow through regular engagement in creative, ethical, interpersonal, technological, environmental, physical, and entrepreneurial experiences. Learners explore ideas and develop solutions that may have impact beyond themselves.

3 Evidence of Learning
Learners engage with feedback that promotes self-awareness, improvement, and mastery. Learners demonstrate growth and development in a variety of forms.

4 Learning Perspectives
Learners face complex problems, challenges, and issues that promote deep learning. Learners consider multiple perspectives and take informed risks in the pursuit of knowledge.

5 Learner Autonomy and Engagement
Learners have age-appropriate, goal-oriented autonomy over their learning and make informed choices supported by guidance within and beyond the classroom.

6 Research, Reflection, and Action
The learning community applies current research, connects with other learning communities, and uses future-oriented thinking to improve learning for all. The learning community evaluates the results of its actions and pursues questions about future innovations that prepare learners to shape their present and future. Likewise, learners analyze the results of their efforts and collaborate with peers to improve and extend their learning.

7 Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Belonging
The learning community exhibits a culture of inclusiveness that enables the diverse needs, identities, and interests of all learners and community members to be acknowledged, actively celebrated, and proactively addressed. Differing viewpoints and opinions are invited in pursuit of an informed and welcoming community.

8 Governance and Leadership for Learning
The roles of leadership and governance are aligned with the school’s learning goals, unified through a common mission, and organized through well-aligned structures that allow informed analysis, communication, and decision-making in support of learners.

9 Learning Space and Time
The learning community optimizes physical environments, virtual opportunities, and time to support learning and wellbeing for all.

10 Learning Community Wellbeing
The learning community is a healthy environment where all members thrive. Respectful, healthy, ethical, and honest relationships create a true sense of community. Community values are clearly stated, actively lived, and define a distinct, sustained identity.


Learning Principles ACE 1.0

Learning Goals
Learners demonstrate understandings, competencies, knowledge, dispositions, and values that will allow them to become responsible and successful citizens.

Dimensions of Learning
Learning encompasses creative, moral, social, experiential and entrepreneurial dimensions.

Assessment for, or, and as Learning
ssessment measures the effect of learning on the learner. Assessment for, of and as learning includes qualitative as well as quantitative criteria.

Learning Perspectives
Meaningful learning is extended when learners explore the unfamiliar, consider a range of perspectives, and take informed risks. Mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning.

Learner Engagement and Autonomy
Learners are engaged with and inspired by their learning. They have autonomy over their learning and make informed choices, supported by teachers acting as coaches and mentors.

Research and Reflection on Learning
Research, reflection, and future design-oriented thinking are valued and acted upon by the community of learners.

Inclusiveness of Learning
The learning community embraces a culture of inclusiveness.

Governance and Leadership for Learning
Governance, leadership, and management support, embody, and promote the organization’s intended Learning Impacts, norms and values.

Learning Space and Time
The design of learning spaces and the structuring of learning time are driven and shaped by the learning community’s intended Learning Impacts.

Learning Community
Respectful, healthy, ethical relationships and interactions create a true sense of community. Communication is honest and transparent. Community values are clearly stated, actively lived, and define a distinct, sustained identity.


The Learning Principles provided the language and framework for salutary alignment within and amongst our academic departments. We moved strategically from the student-centered emphasis of the Learning Principles into a process of department-based work on naming the foundational skills, attitudes, and behaviors central to the work of each discipline. We would not have been able to move forward with that transformational work without the ACE Learning process that kept the entire community’s focus on student-centered learning and experiences.

-- Anne Bruder, Dean of Academic Affairs, Deerfield Academy