What is AVID?
AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness system for elementary through higher education that is designed to increase school wide learning and performance. The AVID College Readiness System (ACRS) accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional learning, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change. Although AVID serves all students, the AVID elective focuses on the students in the academic middle.
“While others talk about what should be done to prepare students for college, AVID is doing it. For more than 30 years, the AVID College Readiness System has helped thousands of students, many of whom are overlooked and underserved, rise above the obstacles they face to achieve academic success.”
The AVID Elective Class
At the secondary grade levels (7th-12th grades), AVID is an approved elective course taken during the school day. Students are usually selected to enroll in an AVID class after an application process. For one class period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and asking probing questions, get academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. Students enrolled in AVID are typically required to enroll in at least one of their school's toughest classes in addition to the AVID elective. As students progress in AVID, their self-images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students.
The AVID curriculum, based on rigorous standards, was developed by middle and senior high school teachers in collaboration with college professors. It is driven by the WICOR method, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. AVID curriculum is used in AVID elective classes and in content-area classes (English language arts, math, science, and social studies) in AVID schools.
THE AVID Student
The AVID student must have individual determination and want to be a part of the AVID program. AVID targets students in the academic middle - B, C, and even D students - who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. They might be the first in their families to attend college or from low-income or minority families. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.
AVID began in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, then-head of the English department at San Diego's Clairemont High School. The federal courts issued an order to desegregate the city's schools, bringing large numbers of inner city students to suburban schools. While applauding the decision, Swanson wondered how these underserved students would survive at academically acclaimed Clairemont High.
Her answer was AVID, an academic elective. But it's more than a program - it's a philosophy: Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge.
Beginning with one high school and 32 students, AVID now impacts more than 700,000 students in more than 4,900 schools and 28 postsecondary institutions in 46 states, the District of Columbia and across 16 other countries/territories.
Although AVID serves all students, the AVID elective focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple - raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. What distinguishes AVID from other educational reform programs is its continuous success rate. Of the 33,204 AVID seniors in 2012 who reported their demographics, academic achievement data and future plans, just over 98 percent indicated they would be graduating from high school, with 90 percent planning to attend a postsecondary institution: 58 percent to a four-year college and 32 percent to a two-year institution. Seventy-three percent reported taking at least one rigorous course, such as AP®, IB® or Cambridge®, with 61 percent taking the corresponding exam. Additionally, Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black AVID students take AP tests at rates that exceed their peers (AVID Hispanic/Latino - 57 percent, U.S. overall Hispanic/Latino - 14 percent; AVID African American/Black -14 percent, U.S. overall African American/Black - 8 percent)
Policymakers and school administrators now consider AVID an essential strategy for closing the achievement gap and making the college dream accessible to all students.