Advancement Via Individual Determination

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AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)
Nonprofit organization
WebsiteOfficial website

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a non-profit organization that provides professional learning for educators to improve college readiness for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education. AVID's College Readiness System had its start at the secondary level, with the AVID Elective class and AVID Schoolwide, and now also includes work in elementary schools and college campuses. These efforts are known as AVID Elementary and AVID for Higher Education.


AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.[1]

AVID Center[edit]

AVID Center is the non-profit that school districts and college campuses contract with to provide AVID's professional learning, curriculum, and support services. Districts and campuses decide which parts of the AVID College Readiness System will best serve their needs: AVID Elementary, AVID Secondary, and/or AVID for Higher Education. AVID Center has offices in San Diego, Denver, Orlando, and Dallas.[2]


AVID was founded by Mary Catherine Swanson in 1980, at Clairemont High School, in San Diego, CA. Low-income students were to be bussed to Clairemont High from other parts of San Diego, and this caused a stir at the suburban, middle-class school. Many teachers had low expectations of these students, but Swanson believed that with the right support, these students could be just as successful as Clairemont's other students and go on to college. She put these students in the school's toughest classes, along with the AVID Elective class, where she and college tutors provided academic support, study skills, and a family-like culture, that allowed them to thrive in the rigorous courses that prepared them for college. The first AVID Elective class had 32 students, and now AVID serves nearly one million students in more than 5,000 schools in 47 states and 16 countries/territories.

AVID College Readiness System[edit]

Each part of the AVID College Readiness System can be implemented independently or together depending on a district’s needs.

AVID Elementary (K-6, K-8) teaches students academic skills at an age-appropriate level that will help them succeed at each level of their education. AVID Elementary professional learning provides teaching strategies and best practices that are utilized in each class across the grade level. Students learn note-taking, organization, and collaboration skills - and are able to start thinking about their educational path to college.

AVID Secondary (grades 7-12) helps students in the AVID Elective develop their academic skills, specifically writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading (what AVID refers to as WICOR). The AVID Elective also provides students with opportunities to increase their college knowledge and take college field trips. Students and teachers in the AVID Elective often develop a close-knit peer group, commonly known as the AVID family. AVID Secondary also acts to improve access and equity to rigorous courses on a campus and the professional learning provides strategies that can help all students be more college ready, even if they are not in the AVID Elective, through the use of AVID teaching strategies in content-area classes.

AVID for Higher Education has three initiatives: Student Success Initiative, Teacher Preparation Initiative, and the Career and Technical Workforce Initiative. The Student Success Initiative focuses heavily on college persistence for students who are already enrolled in college. The Teacher Preparation Initiative provides AVID teaching strategies to future teachers in their education program at their college. The Career and Technical Workforce Initiative is newer and is focused on career readiness.

AVID in Middle School and High School[edit]

AVID Secondary begins with an elective class, where AVID students learn important academic and critical thinking skills. AVID Elective students hear guest speakers, attend field trips to colleges, and learn college knowledge in their AVID Elective class. There is also tutoring twice a week, usually with college-aged tutors. Students, tutors, and teachers form a support system referred to as their AVID family. Participation in the AVID Elective class is voluntary, and students are often nominated and interviewed to join. AVID Elective students are usually students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education, and they show potential for college success. AVID works to give the students the knowledge and tools they need to get to and through college. AVID School wide is another facet of AVID Secondary and happens when AVID methodologies permeate a campus so that all students benefit from AVID strategies.

Data & Research[edit]

Since 1980, AVID has been closely studied by numerous research teams and individuals, in addition to its own data.

"The National Student Clearinghouse found that high school graduates from 2010 and 2011 who participated in AVID persisted through their freshman and sophomore years of college at a higher rate than their counterparts who were not in the program. The research found that 87 percent of AVID graduates enrolled in the second year of college, compared to 77 percent of students overall." [3][4]

What Works Clearinghouse, under the Institute of Educational Sciences, reviewed 66 peer-reviewed studies and found that AVID shows no evidence of impact on student reading comprehension. [1]. Though reading comprehension correlates with long-term academic success, AVID Center maintains that the goal of AVID is to help put students on a path towards college persistence and completion, which includes several other variables that need further research.

AVID's Blog[edit]

AVID Center publishes a weekly Adventures in College & Career Readiness Blog, that includes AVID student stories, teacher stories, lesson ideas, and interviews and articles from thought leaders in education.


  • [2] - official website.
  • [3] - AVID - Join Our Team
  • [4] - AVID students stick with college, outpace peers
  • [5] - AVID Secondary Students' College Enrollment and Persistence: What Equity Gaps?

External links[edit]