AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is an elementary through postsecondary college readiness system that is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. The AVID system accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional development, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change.
"While many folks talk about what should be done to prepare students for college, AVID is doing it and has been for over 30 years."
Although AVID serves all students, it 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 differentiates AVID from other educational reform programs is its astounding success rate. Since 1990, more than 85,500 AVID students have graduated from high school and planned to attend college. Of the 22,210 AVID 2010 seniors who reported their plans, 91.3% intended to attend a postsecondary institution; 58.3% in four-year institutions and 33.0% in two-year institutions.
AVID targets students in the academic middle - B, C, and even some 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. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are 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.
One key to a successful AVID program is a site coordinator/teacher who is a respected site instructional leader who works well with secondary school personnel and college students and faculty, who can organize curriculum as well as activities, and who is committed to serving the needs of target students. The coordinator also works with colleagues to implement AVID methodologies schoolwide, to place students in college preparatory curriculum, and to work with counselors to guide students through the college application process.
Tutors are essential to the success of the AVID elective class, where they facilitate student access to rigorous curriculum. As students from colleges and universities, tutors receive formal training and also serve as role models. AVID students who continue their education in college often return to the program as tutors.
AVID parents encourage their students to achieve academically, participate on an advisory board and in AVID parent and site team meetings, and maintain regular contact with the AVID coordinator. Many parents and students participate in AVID Family Workshops.
Not only are students enrolled in their school's toughest classes, such as honors and Advanced Placement®, but also in the AVID elective. For one 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. 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, in content-area classes in AVID schools, and even in schools where the AVID elective is not offered.