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AVID is a fifth- through twelfth-grade program to prepare students in the academic middle for four-year college eligibility. It has a proven track record in bringing out the best in students, and in closing the achievement gap. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.

The AVID Student

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. 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.

The AVID Elective

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.

Professional Development

The AVID elective class is led by a teacher who's been trained in the program's methodologies. AVID's professional development, however, goes further than that. Teachers and administrators from throughout the school and district attend AVID's Summer Institutes, where they all learn techniques for bringing out the best in average students. In this way, AVID students are supported in content-area classrooms as well as in the AVID elective, and even more students can benefit from the AVID program.


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 WIC-R method, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading. AVID curriculum is used in AVID elective classes, and in content-area classes.


A well-developed AVID program improves schoolwide standardized test scores, advanced rigorous course enrollments, and the number of students attending college. Since 1990, nearly 40,000 AVID students have graduated from high school and gone on to college. 94.3% of AVID students report enrolling in college, 77.1% in four-year institutions and 17.2% in community colleges. The national average for four-year college enrollment is 35 percent.

Why AVID Works

Between the remedial programs for students who lag far behind, and the gifted-and-talented programs for a school's brightest children, lies the silent majority: average students, who do "okay" in ordinary classes but, because they don't attract attention to themselves, are left alone. Many of these students hunger for more challenging coursework but fear failure. Their potential lies dormant, waiting to be recognized, encouraged, and supported.

First, AVID identifies these students. The selection criteria include,

Ability: Are the students getting Cs and Bs but are capable of more? Can they succeed in college preparatory courses with support?

Desire and Determination: Do they want to attend college? Are they willing to work hard to get there?

Membership in an underserved group: Are they in a low-income household? Will they be the first in their family to attend college? Are they historically unlikely to attend college?

The AVID program is tailored to the needs of this diverse group of students, and it works for them because

AVID accelerates underachieving students into more rigorous courses, instead of consigning them to dead-end remedial programs.

AVID offers the intensive support students need to succeed in rigorous courses.

AVID uses Socratic methods and study groups that specifically target the needs of under-achieving students.

AVID is a schoolwide initiative, not a school within a school.

AVID changes the belief system of an entire school by showing that low-income and minority students can achieve at the highest levels and attend colleges.

The role of teacher is redefined from lecturer to advocate and guide. The role of counselor changes from gate-keeper to facilitator.

AVID creates site teams of administrators and educators from different content areas, encouraging communication and sharing among teachers, counselors, and principals.

All AVID strategies are based on research on tracking the process by which some children are channeled into challenging courses and others are relegated to remedial ones and peer influences in student achievement.

Teaching Methodologies

WIC-R or writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading forms the basis of the AVID curriculum. It gives students the skills they need to succeed in college-preparatory classes, like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.

Writing to learn. AVID emphasizes writing in all subjects, with a focus on clarifying and communicating their thoughts and understanding material.

Emphasis on inquiry. AVID is based on inquiry, not lecture. Many activities, from Cornell notetaking to tutorial groups, are built around asking questions, which forces students to clarify, analyze, and synthesize material.

A collaborative approach. The AVID classroom is not a traditional one in which a teacher lectures to passive students. An AVID teacher is a facilitator and an advocate. But students, not teachers or tutors, are responsible for their learning. Tutors function as discussion leaders, while students challenge, help, and learn from one another.

Critical reading. AVID students don't merely read words on a page. They are taught to analyze, question, critique, clarify, and comprehend the material.

These techniques turn students from passive learners into active classroom contributors and critical thinkers, an approach that's necessary for college admission and success.

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