AVID and GEAR UP Research and Evaluation

As a college readiness system, AVID aligns very well with the goals of GEAR UP partnerships.  Since the inception of GEAR UP, many schools and districts have utilized AVID to help achieve their GEAR UP goals. Several studies have been conducted, looking at AVID's impact on GEAR UP students and schools.  Because GEAR UP awards are multi-year, they provide an opportunity to review AVID's impact on a longitudinal basis. 

Overview of Significant AVID and GEAR UP Studies/Evaluations

Watt, K., Huerta, J., & Lozano, A. (2007). A Comparison Study of AVID and GEAR UP 10th-Grade Students in Two High Schools in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 12(2), 1–29.

Study Description:

This is a study of four groups of high school students: 3 groups enrolled in two college preparatory programs, AVID and GEAR UP, and a control group not enrolled in a college preparatory program. Differences in student educational aspirations, expectations and anticipations, knowledge of college entrance requirements, knowledge of financial aid, and academic achievement in mathematics were examined. Researchers used various methods of statistical analyses as well as focus groups to gather their data. This study examined 10th graders and is the first part of a two-year study of AVID and GEAR UP students.

Key Findings:

  • No significant differences in educational expectations/anticipations were found among the four groups - almost all of the students expected to get a college education.
  • While not statistically significant, higher aspirations and college knowledge were found among AVID and GEAR UP students.
  • Significantly higher academic preparation was found for AVID students.


Lozano, A., Watt, K., & Huerta, J. (2009). Comparison Study of 12th grade Students' College Anticipations, Aspirations, and College Preparatory Measures. American Secondary Education, Fall 2009.

Study Description:

The purpose of this study was to assess the differences in educational aspirations and educational anticipations between four groups of high school seniors and to identify college preparatory measures achieved by the four groups. This study also served as a follow-up study of AVID and GEAR UP 10th graders, which allowed researchers to measure whether any changes in aspirations and anticipations within the four groups occurred between the 10th and 12th grade.

Key Findings:

  • Significant differences in educational anticipations were found among the four groups of high school seniors, and a change in students' anticipations occurred between the 10th and 12th grade.
  • There were no differences in educational aspirations among the four groups.
  • The intervention programs, GEAR UP and AVID, provided students with access to benefits of social and cultural capital that may have otherwise not been available to them.


Descriptive Analysis of HSA Performance Data for GEAR UP Funded AVID Middle Schools. Hawai'i P-20 (2010). AVID 2009 Hawaii State Assessment Analysis. Unpublished report. March 2010.

Study Description:

Hawai'i  P-20 analyzed the HSA scores of a group of all AVID and a matched cohort of non-AVID students in ten GEAR UP middle and intermediate schools running the AVID program. Students recruited for AVID had a grade point average between 2.0 and 3.5. A non-AVID comparison group was composed of students in the same school with a GPA in the 2.0-3.5 range during the 2007-2008 school year. Results shown here are from an unpublished internal evaluation report.  Questions should be directed to Hawai'i P-20: www.p20hawaii.org.

Key Findings:

  • AVID students met or exceeded proficiency at higher levels than the comparison group on the 2009 HSA Reading and Math examinations.

    HSA Analysis

  • AVID students at every school had higher levels of proficiency than the remainder of the school on the 2009 HSA Reading examination.
  • AVID students at every school had higher levels of proficiency than the remainder of the school on the 2009 HSA Math examination.


AVID Student Achievement Analysis. Unpublished report. Hawai'i P-20 (undated).

Study Description:

Hawai'i P-20's GEAR UP Hawai'i program, a partnership of the State of Hawai'i Department of Education (HIDOE), the University of Hawai'i (UH) System and community partners, identified matched pairs of AVID and non-AVID students based on ethnicity, school, sex, grade, free/reduced-price lunch status, and grade point average. P-20 used data from the Hawai'i Department of Education on student demographics, report cards, Hawaii State Assessment data, student participation in AVID, Algebra course-taking, and standardized test results. Results shown here are from an unpublished internal evaluation report. Questions should be directed to Hawai'i P-20: www.p20hawaii.org.

Key Findings:

  • Significantly more AVID students took Algebra I in 8th grade and significantly more AVID students passed Algebra I in 8th grade than their peers.
  • Significantly more AVID students took and passed Algebra I in 9th grade.
  • AVID students were twice as likely to take Geometry in 9th grade and all or nearly all of both groups passed. Assuming that no student took both Algebra and Geometry in 9th grade, 68% of AVID took one of these math classes in 9th grade, while only 49% of the comparison group did.
  • While there was no group difference in 5th grade - prior to AVID involvement - AVID students in 8th grade were significantly more likely to be rated "proficient" on the Hawaii State Assessment. Achievement gains were greater among low-income students.


Higher Expectations for Hawai'i's Students: Findings from AVID Student and Teacher Surveys. Hawai'i P-20 (2010). University of Hawai'i, 2010.

Study Description:

By the 2009-2010 school year, GEAR UP had supported the implementation of AVID in 19 Title 1 middle schools with a goal of providing students from low-income communities early awareness of the benefits of college and helping them prepare academically for higher education. GEAR UP conducted surveys of students and teachers at the funded schools in the 2007-2008, 2008-2009, and 2009-2010 school years. Results shown here are from an unpublished internal evaluation report. Questions should be directed to Hawai'i P-20: www.p20hawaii.org.

Key Findings:

  • AVID students had higher expectations of obtaining college degrees than non-AVID students and also perceived that teachers and parents expected them to go further in school.

    Higher Expectations

  • Results hint that AVID's college-going culture may be rippling out beyond the AVID elective classroom into the full school:

    - Both AVID students and their peers reported using AVID tools like Cornell Notes and the AVID Binder.
    - The gap between AVID and non-AVID students' educational aspirations - with more and more members of the peer group wanting to attain a four-year degree or higher - is shrinking.

  • "Survey data suggest that AVID is effectively making an impact."


Learn more about AVID and GEAR UP's alignment.

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