Avid, Advancement Via Individual Determination is a foundational and holistic system designed to engage all teachers and students in a high quality of learning

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What is AVID?

  • A college and career readiness system that provides professional development and support to educators in preparing students for and delivering academically rigorous curriculum.

  • A catalyst for schools to identify capable students and to provide them with the skills needed to be the independent learners and creative problem solvers who succeed in higher education and the 21st century workplace.

  • A systemic tool for schools to build a college and career-readiness culture that inspires teachers and students to achieve via individual determination and to succeed academically among the highest achieving students.

  • The infrastructure that makes good teachers great!

AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination is a foundational and holistic system designed to engage all teachers and students in a high quality of learning based in best teaching practices and proven strategies. The driving theory behind the AVID system is that students will succeed in rigorous courses and be college and career-ready if provided the proper support and access to that rigor.
AVID’s proven learning support structure known as WICR incorporates these teaching methodologies: Writing as a Tool for Learning, Emphasis on Inquiry, Collaborative Approach, and Reading to Learn. Learning and utilizing these skills allows students to comprehend at levels of complexity for a variety of applications in higher education and career preparation. The AVID system restructures the teaching methods of an entire school to open access to rigorous curricula.
Surveys of employers indicate that what they are seeking in their workforce are people who get along with other people and can come up with creative solutions to new problems in collaborative ways. AVID’s scaffold of social and academic structures instills these qualities, while at the same time improving outcomes in academic performance, building critical reading and thinking skills for technical and college readiness coursework, and fostering collaboration among students, as well as educators.
In today’s sophisticated and rapidly changing workplace, the skills, strategies, experience, and confidence acquired by students working with the AVID system are integral to success in postsecondary education and career preparation for all fields.
The AVID system is a vital component of a comprehensive school improvement program. It supplies the academic foundation and skill delivery system for school curricula and student achievement programs. The AVID methodologies and strategies can be applied in most aspects of teaching and learning across a school, including specialized applications and targeted populations. AVID staff and trainers are strong partners in school improvement efforts. The intensive professional development; the teacher, student and administrator collaboration inherent in the AVID system; and the dissemination of common best practices across a school site provide an exponential impetus to improving culture and performance.

AVID Methodology is about allowing students access to a rigorous college and career preparatory curriculum and providing professional development to support vertical teams of teachers. Students learn how to set and work toward goals, how to manage their time, how to take notes, how to use binders to structure and organize their notes, and how to study using their organized materials. The WICR instructional strategies include:

  • Writing as a Tool for Learning: Writing is basic to thinking, learning and growth. It allows students to think in complex ways, contributes to self-knowledge, helps clarify and order experience, helps students be better readers, and enables students to “do better” in school. The AVID note-taking system is an adaptation of the sophisticated Cornell system. Students take detailed notes from class lectures and texts in a wide right-hand margin, and develop clarifying ideas or questions regarding these notes in a narrow left-hand margin. Not only do the notes help students clarify thought, but as students engage in writing for learning, their writing and language skills become better and better. Their reading skills develop as students have experience in using language. AVID students are required to take binders to all academic classes and to use them to take notes.

  • Emphasis on Inquiry: Students are trained in the inquiry method, based on levels of questioning (Socratic Method), rather than on lecture. This engages students in their own learning, resulting in student ownership for enlarged understanding of concepts and higher order thinking skills.

  • Collaborative Approach: Research shows that students learn best when they are actively manipulating materials through making inferences and then generalizing from those inferences. Collaborative groups encourage this type of thinking. Students are responsible for their own learning; AVID teachers are guides, facilitators and coaches in a learning community of teachers, students and tutors working together for the success of the group.

  • Reading to Learn: The AVID curriculum emphasizes critical reading, with academic reading instruction built so that students develop and become more confident in their comprehension skills. Three factors most helpful for insuring comprehension are connecting to prior knowledge, understanding text structure, and using text-processing strategies during and after reading.

The Key Program Components of the AVID Secondary School System are:

AVID Professional Development for Educators

Each participating school forms an interdisciplinary AVID Site Team comprised of content area teachers, counselors and academic administrators to plan and lead the implementation of AVID at their site. Intensive professional development is provided to site team members to prepare them to implement and expand AVID at their school. These professional development activities and regular site team meetings reinforce the AVID training, develop the team’s leadership capacity, and build communities of practice.

To support all students in a school in addition to those participating in AVID Elective classes, AVID trains content area and other teachers in how to utilize WICR methodologies, teaching strategies and best practices in all classes across a school site. In this way, every student learns the critical thinking, critical reading and writing skills needed to achieve and succeed in higher education and career paths. (See detailed description of professional development below.)
The AVID Elective

In middle and high schools, each participating student enrolls in a daily AVID Elective course, which is part of the student’s regular, credit schedule. Two of the five class periods per week are spent on academic training utilizing the WICR strategies, including note taking, critical reading, and test preparation. Another two periods are spent in group tutorials, during which trained college tutors provide guidance and facilitate problem-solving on questions and assignments from subject classes.

AVID also has a career-exploratory program that connects state standards with student interests. The AVID Elective has one class per week focused on career exploration. In this class, AVID students gain an understanding of the required academic preparation for career choices, and a foundation in how to research colleges and other post-secondary options to maximize the benefits for career choices.
AVID Library of Resource Materials

AVID provides rigorous, sequential resource materials known as “Write Path” to participating schools in the following areas: English Language Arts, Mathematics, History/Social Science, English Language Learners (ELL), Critical Reading, World Languages, and Tutorial Support. The AVID resource materials are intended to be used by teachers in all content areas to deliver the school’s curricula through proven AVID methodologies and best practices and to enhance student learning via AVID strategies and support from teachers and peers. Integrating AVID methodologies and strategies in classes throughout a school site generates a culture of college and career-readiness for all students.

AVID Leadership Training

Leadership training has been a key area of focus to promote college and career-readiness across an entire campus and throughout a school district. AVID trains superintendents, district leaders, principals, and administrators. (See detailed description of leadership training below)

AVID’s Certification System

AVID promotes continuous improvement in schools. The AVID Certification program documents and recognizes schools that have fully and successfully implemented the AVID model and serves as a continuous improvement process. The AVID Certification process includes a school site self-study followed by a site visit by the District Director. Schools incorporate the findings of their self-study and certification site visit in their ongoing site development plan. (See detailed description of certification system below).

AVID Professional Development Detail

Through intense professional development, along with a strong curriculum, AVID has redefined and changed the roles of teachers and counselors. Teachers become advocates and guides for students while counselors move from a gatekeeper role to one of facilitator. AVID provides instructional interventions and resources designed to assist school districts in their efforts to close achievement gaps among their student populations and specifically target college readiness among academically struggling students and students with historically lower college success rates.

Each AVID school site selects a combination of administration, content area teachers and student support staff to comprise the Site Team. A team optimally consists of eight members, including:
Administrator Counselor

AVID Coordinator AVID Teacher

Language Arts Teacher Math Teacher

Science Teacher Social Studies Teacher

AVID Professional Development for Site Teams, Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators

  • Summer Institute is an intensive, multi-day program that trains AVID Elective teachers, content area teachers, counselors and administrators in how to implement AVID and apply methodologies in content areas and with specific populations. In addition to morning strands, school site teams meet in afternoon sessions to develop annual strategic AVID implementation plans and to build leadership capacity. Site team set quantifiable goals for school improvement based on school data.

  • AVID Path Training focuses on how to use the AVID Write Path content area resource materials in all classes, improving the college readiness of English Language Learners, and on Culturally Relevant Teaching. This training can be contracted for a specific school or district and is also offered by AVID on a regular schedule in cities throughout the country.

  • Data Analysis Training focuses on the interpretation and use of data to inform instruction and program improvement practices and shape school culture.

  • AVID National Conference includes dialogue, presentations, and sessions from practitioners currently engaged in college and career-readiness efforts.

  • Web-based seminars and online training offered as part of membership providing information and resources on AVID principles and implementation.

  • Regular site team meetings reinforce AVID training and develop the team’s leadership capacities.

Site Teams also provide professional development activities for their schools’ faculty and administration to instill the AVID philosophy throughout the school and to create a professional learning community.

AVID Leadership Training Detail

  • AVID District Leadership (ADL) Training is required of the AVID District Director, who is a district leader selected to oversee the AVID system in the district. ADL training offers on-site visits, training, and facilitation to help district leaders build local capacity for implementing, sustaining and constantly improving quality AVID programs in their schools.

  • Leadership for College Readiness - Administrator Training are two-day trainings designed for participants to actively participate in assessing the structures, processes and systems needed to create positive cultures on their campuses. Participants take a case study of a hypothetical school and begin the process of building a mission, vision, and core principles for that school.

  • Principals' Leadership Academy is a year-long (19 days) training offered in partnership with the Flippen Learning Group focused at developing principals' relational capacity, understanding of college readiness factors, as well as the systems, tools and strategies to lead their schools to greatness. Principals participate as a cohort and maintain communication electronically between face-to-face sessions.

  • AVID National Conference gives superintendents, district leaders, principals, teacher-leaders, counselors, and school board members an opportunity to develop a replicable plan to close the achievement gap. Content includes: Access to rigorous curriculum for all; Strategies to help African American male and English-language learner students navigate their educational path to college; Strategies for closing the gender gap; Schoolwide and districtwide tactics for closing the achievement gap; Parent and community involvement in college-readiness efforts

AVID Certification Process Detail

The 11 Essentials that comprise the AVID program have been vetted through research of best practices. Data collection and research have played a vital role in AVID since its beginning in 1980. In Guthrie and Guthrie’s research piece “The Magnificent Eight: AVID Best Practices Study (February, 2002) all eight sites in the study reported each of the 11 Essentials as necessary, critical or important components to the success of their programs. The researchers found that the use of data goes beyond the typical accountability function in that it used for program planning, documenting program success and program publicity. (See list of AVID 11 Essentials as end of this section).

The AVID Data Collection System uses data collection forms and an online data collection system to collect data from all participating school sites, grades 4-12. Demographic and socioeconomic data is collected for each school each year, including student ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status (number receiving a free or reduced lunch). Outcome data also is collected, including the number of teachers in each school who complete AVID training and the number and percentage of AVID students who enroll in college preparatory courses. Outcome data also includes the percentage of AVID students who are on-track for acceptance to a four-year university; enroll in an Advanced Placement course (compared to the state average); graduate from high school; complete college entry requirements; take at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam; and take a college entrance exam.

AVID Center affords three data submission opportunities for client districts in support of their program evaluation efforts and fulfillment of certification requirements. They are:

  1. General Site data collection

  2. Senior data collection

  3. The Initial Self-Study (ISS)

  4. Certification Self-Study (CSS)


The General Site data collection is an aggregate submission where sites electronically submit total numbers of students representing a variety of demographic characteristics. For example, gender, ethnicity, grade level, free/reduced cost lunch eligibility, and enrollment in Algebra, Honors, and Foreign Language courses. In addition, information on the previous year’s 8th graders is solicited specifically regarding course completion patterns.


The Senior data collection is a student level submission where 12th grade AVID students electronically submit information regarding their high school experience. Information regarding the number of years they've been enrolled in the AVID Elective, the number and types of AP or IB courses taken, whether or not they took the SAT or ACT and their scores (if taken), college entrance requirement completion, and whether the student applied to, was accepted to, and plans to attend a four-year college or university.


The ISS and CSS information is also submitted electronically and is used to measure program implementation fidelity and quality assurance. Sites are required to submit a CSS indicating the extent to which their program has successfully implemented each of the 11 Essentials (See attachment). AVID sites are given a certification status based on the level of implementation fidelity of each of the Essentials; Affiliate, Certified, Demonstration, or Distinction.

AVID 11 Essentials

  1. Students are selected from the middle and would benefit from AVID support to improve their academic records and begin college preparation.

  2. Student and teacher participation is voluntary.

  3. The school is committed to full implementation: AVID is scheduled as an academic elective.

  4. AVID students are enrolled in a rigorous curriculum.

  5. A strong and relevant writing and reading curriculum is a basis for learning in the AVID Elective class.

  6. Inquiry is used as a basis for instruction in the AVID classroom.

  7. Collaboration is also used as a basis for instruction.

  8. Trained tutors regularly facilitate student access to rigorous curriculum using AVID methodologies.

  9. Program implementation and student progress are monitored through the AVID Data System and results are analyzed to ensure success.

  10. The school or district identifies resources for program costs, supports the Essentials, participates in certification and commits to AVID staff development.

  11. Active, interdisciplinary site teams collaborate on issues of access to and success in rigor college preparatory classes.

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Theory of Change Statement
Thirty years of experience has confirmed AVID’s philosophy that students will succeed in rigorous courses and be college and career ready if provided the proper support and access to that rigor. AVID’s theory of change is to transform a school and/or district’s culture into one in which all students are expected to achieve and are given the tools and skills to do so.
As AVID grows and becomes embedded in a school, teacher belief systems change. This supports whole school change. Students from all backgrounds come to believe that they are capable of attaining higher levels of achievement and reject the de facto tracking that tends to keep low income and minority students out of college and career readiness programs.
AVID transforms a school by:
Changing the structure . . .

A schoolwide AVID program influences the structure of an entire school with several components that are significant in making the transition to a schoolwide program. It is important to have AVID representation in site governance meetings to promote the AVID philosophy of a college-going environment. Having AVID leadership on these teams makes it possible to ensure that the school will provide college preparatory curriculum, including pre-AP and AP instruction for all students, as well as valuable professional development opportunities for staff members.

Changing Instruction . . .

In a schoolwide AVID program, teachers facilitate learning experiences for students that are based on best practices proven to have the greatest impact. Through carefully crafted lessons using the WICR methodology, teachers expect and encourage students to think critically and work independently, as well as in groups.

In sites with schoolwide AVID, students carry planners and set goals, reflect on them, and revise them. Students also maintain an organized binder, take Cornell notes, and participate in Socratic Seminars, Fish Bowls, and Philosophical Chairs activities. Students reflect upon their learning in portfolios, and often present these portfolios as evidence of their academic and personal growth.
Changing Culture . . .

Creating a visible college-going culture is significant in instituting schoolwide change. Students begin to realize the possibilities for the future when they are surrounded by artifacts that represent a college-going environment. For example, walk onto an AVID Schoolwide campus and notice the numerous flags, pennants, career bulletin boards and posters, WICR posters, and AVID acronym flyers.

AVID students make a positive impact on the school’s culture. AVID students act as role models in the classroom, leading incoming students on school visitations and volunteering in neighborhood school events. They are ambassadors for the growth of AVID, hold leadership positions in student government, clubs, and activities, and are cited by teachers as positive role models in their classrooms.
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Summary of Research Findings
AVID has been the subject of numerous research studies that have documented its program effectiveness. Key Findings from these studies include:

  • AVID high schools improved their accountability ratings as measured by the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills and dropout rates over the four-year study period.

  • AVID schools showed increases in enrollment in courses of high rigor where the non-AVID schools actually showed decreases in enrollment.

  • AVID schools and districts showed increases in graduation or completion rates while non-AVID schools and districts evidenced declines.

  • AVID has made an impact schoolwide as evidenced by changes in school culture

  • Non-AVID teachers adopted many of the AVID strategies including Cornell Notes, Socratic Seminars, and collaboration for use in their own classes. Also, AP teachers not part of the AVID site team that had AVID students in their classes had positive comments about AVID students and expressed interest in learning about AVID.

Documented Achievement Results
The greatest evidence of AVID’s success is in the successes of its students - over 98% of AVID high school seniors graduated from high school and over 76% are accepted to four-year colleges – consistently - as detailed in the three year data below.
AVID has a proven, multi-year track record of increasing the college and career readiness of students who have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Studies of academic outcomes of California AVID students found: 55% of African-American students who participated in AVID for 3 years enrolled in four-year colleges versus national average of 33% and 43% of Latino students who participated in AVID enrolled in four-year colleges versus national average of 29%.
Seven school districts in Texas used Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration grants to implement AVID as a model for school-wide reform at 26 schools. Within four years of starting to implement the program, 30% of AVID seniors were completing Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) courses, and an additional 17% completed a transferable community college course (Alkan & Watt, 2003). The evaluation of this program (Watt, Yanez and Cossio, 2002-2003) concluded that AVID students succeeded in rigorous courses, outperformed their classmates on state-mandated exams, and were on track for college enrollment and success. An evaluation of eight AVID programs in California focused on AVID’s effect on AP course taking (CREATE, 2002) concluded that AVID students succeeded in Advanced Placement and honors classes, which opened access to those courses for other non-traditional students.

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Documented Achievement Results
General Data Summary for Secondary Schools

from AVID Data Collection System

LONGITUDINAL REPORT FOR |2007-2008| |2008-2009| |2009-2010|

All Grades 2009-2010 Only





6th Grade


African American




7th Grade


American Indian




8th Grade






9th Grade






10th Grade






11th Grade






12th Grade


Pacific Islander














Data Category




Number of high school AVID sections




Number of middle school AVID sections




Percent of AVID middle school students in second year of AVID




Percent of AVID eighth grade students enrolled in Algebra







Percent of AVID combined school students eligible for federal free or reduced lunch




Percent of AVID middle school students eligible for federal free or reduced lunch




Percent of AVID high school students eligible for federal free or reduced lunch







Number of AVID seniors in previous year




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year taking at least one AP or IB exam




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year completing college entrance requirements




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year enrolled in elective for at least three years




Percent of AVID seniors graduating in the previous year




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year taking the SAT or ACT




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year applying to four-year college




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year getting accepted to four-year college




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year planning to attend a four-year college




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year applying to a two-year college




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year getting accepted to two-year college




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year planning to attend a two-year college




Percent of AVID seniors in previous year applying to a technical school or enlisting in the military




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