How to get started? Listen to a Welcome Message from Vice President of Quality, Research and Outreach Dennis Johnston.

Since 1980, AVID has been closely studied by numerous research teams and individuals. In addition to our own data collection (see the Data & Results page), AVID's success has been demonstrated by numerous third-party studies. In fact, the quality of our proof is so high, that AVID was one of eleven organizations to receive the highest praise for outstanding rigorous research by Building Engineering and Science Talent in an April 2004 report to Congress. If you know of a research article in the print media or on the web that you would like to share, please contact us. If you have questions or comments about our research, please contact Vice President of Quality, Research and Outreach Dennis Johnston at

The AVID Center has organized the research section of our website so that is useful for clients, the media, and the public. We recommend that you begin your tour by viewing two research documents that summarize key findings:

AVID Research Overview A summary presentation of AVID's research.
Review of AVID Research A summary and key findings of representative research articles on AVID.

For additional research, view the:

AVID and GEAR UP page
Schoolwide/Districtwide page
AVID's Electronic Archival Guide

For suggested readings, tools, and background information, read our annotated bibliography. This was developed to help AVID educators in the creation and maintenance of strong learning communities focused on college and career readiness and student development.

Quick links for this page:

Impact on AVID Students

Highlights from AVID Graduate Research:

  • AVID sends one third more students to 4-year colleges than the local and national average.
  • African American AVID students, whether they participate in AVID for one or three years, are enrolling in college at rates which are considerably higher than the local and national average.
  • Students who participate in AVID enroll more often than students who don't participate, and the longer students enroll in AVID, the better is their college enrollment record.
  • AVID students are staying in college once they enroll; 89% of those who started are in college two years later.
  • In short, the capital that students bring with them into the program does not seem to be as important as the capital that the students accrue while they are in the program.
  • More than twice the percentage of students with two years of middle school AVID took three or more AP classes than those with only one year or no AVID experience in middle school.

Full Studies:

"The Impact of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) on Mexican American Students Enrolled in a Four-year University." Mendiola, I.D., Watt, K. M., Huerta, J. Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education. (In Press.) The purpose of this study was to investigate the higher educational progress of Mexican American students who participated in AVID

"The Magnificent Eight: AVID Best Practices Study." Larry F. Guthrie, Grace Pung Guthrie. Center for Research, Evaluation and Training in Education. February 2002. This study investigates how closely eight California AVID Demonstration schools, generally considered to be representative of mature AVID programs, follow the AVID implementation model. The researchers also discuss whether or not all of the eleven AVID essentials are requisite, and propose several additional essentials.

"Constructing School Success: The Consequences of Untracking Low-Achieving Students." Hugh Mehan, I. Villanueva, L. Hubbard, A. Lintz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. This book presents an in-depth picture of AVID within the context of tracking and "untracking" students based on perceived academic ability. It shows that AVID succeeds in placing previously low-track students on the college track. Mehan, et al., also published a follow-up piece on AVID, in 1998: "Scaling up an Untracking Program: A Co-Constructed Process." L. Hubbard and H. Mehan. JESPAR 4(1), 83-100.


Impact at the High School Level

Highlights from AVID High School Studies:

  • The AVID, AVID/GEAR UP, and GEAR UP groups raised their anticipations level by increasing their level of satisfaction from Associate's to Bachelor's over the 2-year period.
  • Students who felt nurtured stayed in AVID; personal bonds with the AVID teachers were key to continuing in the program for four years.
  • The family-like atmosphere of AVID was important to students' morale, self-esteem and determination.
  • While not statistically significant, higher aspirations and college knowledge were found among AVID and GEAR UP students.
  • AVID high schools improved their accountability ratings as measured by the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills and dropout rates, over the 4-year study period.

Full Studies:

pdf icon "Fairfax County AVID Evaluation." Fairfax County Public Schools Evaluation Department, 2013. This study looked to determine the fidelity of AVID implementation to the 11 Essentials; the effectiveness of implementation on various academic outcomes including: EOC exams, rigorous course enrollment, and college enrollment and persistence; and the cost effectiveness of implementing AVID.

pdf icon "A comparison study of 12th grade Hispanic students' college anticipations, aspirations, and college preparatory measures." Aliber Lozano, Karen M. Watt, Jeffery Huerta. American Secondary Education, Fall 2009. 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.

pdf icon "A comparison study of AVID and GEAR UP 10th-grade students in two high schools in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas." Karen M. Watt, Jeffery Huerta, Aliber Lozano. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 2007. 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.

pdf icon "Schoolwide impact and AVID: How have selected Texas high schools addressed the new accountability measures?" Karen M. Watt, Charles A. Powell, Irma D. Mendiola, Griselda Cossio. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 2006. This is a study of high schools and their districts receiving Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) grants to support implementation of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) model.

pdf icon "The Link Between High School Reform and College Access and Success for Low-Income and Minority Youth." Monica Martinez, Shayna Klopott. American Youth Policy Forum, 2005. The authors provide a review of reform models that were pre-packaged, that is, to restructuring plans based on a vision of how schools should be, including: America's Choice, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), Coalition of Essential Schools, First things First, High Schools that work, Talent Development High Schools, GE Foundation College Bound, and small learning environments.

pdf icon "Implications of One Comprehensive School Reform Model for Secondary School Students Underrepresented in Higher Education." Karen M. Watt, Charles A. Powell, Irma Doris Mendiola. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 9.3, 2004.

"AVID: A Comprehensive School Reform Model for Texas." Karen M. Watt, Darlene Yanez, Griselda Cossio. National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal 19.3 (2002-2003). This study investigates the two-year implementation of AVID in 26 Texas secondary schools, and calls AVID "a catalyst for schoolwide reform." The report demonstrates the importance of proper implementation of AVID.

"Longitudinal Research on AVID, 1999-2000; 2000-2001" Larry F. Guthrie, Grace Pung Guthrie. Center for Research, Evaluation and Training in Education. June 2000 and July 2001. These studies ask two questions: What was the impact of middle-grades AVID on high school students, and what was the impact of AVID on high school graduates? "Enrollment in two years of middle school AVID provides students with the necessary early preparation to place them on track for gaining admission to four-year colleges and universities," Guthrie writes. The studies also found that 95 percent of AVID graduates enrolled in college, and about half of them reported a "B" average or better.

White Papers

"Retention of first-generation college-going seniors in the college preparatory program AVID." Karen M. Watt, Dennis Johnston, Jeffery Huerta, Irma D. Mendiola, Ersan Alkan. American Secondary Education, 2008. This is a study of the retention behaviors of high school seniors in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) elective class. The design involves a multiple case study of eight high schools chosen from California and Texas.


Impact at the Middle School Level

Highlights from AVID Middle School Research:

  • Each site utilized data to assess and improve teaching methods.
  • Transformation of school culture and schoolwide use of AVID occurred through fidelity to the 11 AVID essentials, professional learning and use of data.
  • Increased creation of and enrollment in AP and honors courses occurred on nearly every campus.
  • AVID students represented 17-47% of AP enrollees (on four campuses).
  • District support for AVID tutorials was a key factor.
  • Students improved in their own behavior as well as their expectations for other students in their cluster.

Full Studies:

pdf icon “Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) System’s Impact on Diversity and Poverty Issues in Education.” Patrick T. Peabody, Jr.  National Teacher Education Journal, Fall 2012.  This is a discussion of the impact of the AVID system on poverty and diversity issues over a two-year period in a middle school setting.  Poverty and diversity have become growing concerns for educational institutions in recent years. 

"Advancement Via Individual Determination:  Method Selection in Conclusions About Program Effectiveness." Black, A.C., McCoach, D.B., Purcell, J.H., Siegle, D., Journal of Educational Research, 2008. Three middle schools from an urban school district in the northeastern United States participated in this 2004-2006 evaluation study of the AVID program. Researchers used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the effect of the AVID program on a number of criterion variables using both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Two schools were randomly assigned to the treatment condition, and the third was designated as the comparison school. Personnel from all three schools were trained in the AVID program through attendance at the AVID Summer Institute, although only the treatment schools implemented the program.


Professional Learning and Leadership


  • AVID coordinators had significantly higher perceptions of AVID's impact on school culture and climate than AVID teachers who were not coordinators.
  • Teacher leadership increases with each Summer Institute (SI) that a teacher attends.
  • Teacher leadership does not increase significantly unless a teacher has attended at least two of the additional activities led by their district or regional director (RD/DD).

Full Studies:

pdf icon "Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) professional learning as predictor of teacher leadership in the United States." Karen M. Watt, Jeffery Huerta and Shirley J. Mills. Professional Learning in Education, 2009. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between AVID professional learning and teacher leadership using comprehensive measures of each.

"Exploring the relationship between AVID professional learning and teacher leadership." Jeffery Huerta, Karen M. Watt, Ersan Alkan. Academic Leadership, January 2008. The purpose of this study was to assess whether the professional learning received while attending AVID Summer Institutes has an effect on AVID elective teachers' level of teacher leadership within their schools.

"Leadership and AVID implementation levels in four south Texas border schools." Karen M. Watt, Jeffery Huerta, Griselda Cossio. Catalyst for Change, 2004. Four Texas secondary school campuses that implemented AVID as a Comprehensive School Reform model in 1999-2000 were examined in depth for the purpose of this study.


Overall AVID Research

"Success at Every Step: How 23 Programs Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond." Sarah Hooker and Betsy Brand. American Youth Policy Forum. 2009. The programs in Success at Every Step represent a wide range of interventions, including schoolwide reform initiatives, community-based afterschool services, work-based learning opportunities, and college access programs.

pdf icon "Validation of the AVID Certification Self Study (CSS): A Measure of AVID Secondary Program Implementation Fidelity" Dennis Johnston, Ph.D., Phil Nickel, Jeff Popp, and Michele Marcus, Ph.D., 2010. Study explores the reliability and validity of the AVID Certification Self- Study (CSS). The CSS is used to measure the implementation fidelity of the middle and high school components of the AVID College Readiness System.

pdf icon "What it Takes: Pre-K-12 Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics" BEST: Building Engineering & Science Talent, April 2004. The BEST organization set out to review programs that are designed to impact various underrepresented groups in the math and science arena.  Among the seven notable programs, AVID was the only one to have been widely disseminated.

Cost Effectiveness

“Pathways to Student Success A Guide to Translating Good Intentions to Meaningful Impact” Center for High Impact Philanthropy School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Nov. 2008. In its advice to philanthropists the Pathways to Student Success report cites five promising practices as case examples of which AVID is one. High impact philanthropy involves identifying those practices and agents that can do the most good with the philanthropic funds available. Executive Summary

Other Resources

"Investing Early: Intervention Programs in Selected U.S. States." Elisa Cunningham, Christina Redmond, and Jamie Merisotis. Institute for Higher Education Policy. February 2003. This report features AVID as an effective college preparatory intervention program, noting AVID's proven results, and "extensive, long-term services" to students.

"Higher Education Outreach Programs: A Synthesis of Evaluations." G.C. Hayward, B.G. Brandes, M.W. Kirst, C. Mazzeo. A Policy Analysis for California Education Report, for the University of California Board of Regents. January 1997. This research review notes that "evaluations of AVID have been quite extensive." It also praises AVID's commitment to consistent replication and dissemination. It concludes that AVID's combination of student-centered and school-centered reform "can help point the way toward expanded efforts to assist low-performing schools."

"Tools for Schools: School Reform Models Supported by the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students." U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Washington, DC: 1998. This report reviews a variety of research findings on AVID, such as the excellent college-enrollment rates for Latino, African-American, and low-income students. It notes that AVID is itself based upon a strong research background.

AVID Center Special Research Projects Office, University of Texas Pan American

“Attendance White Paper” Karen M. Watt, Ph.D. This paper examines three studies regarding AVID and school attendance. Results from the research indicate that when AVID is implemented as designed, student attendance rates increase.

Additional Resources on College Readiness


AVID Consultant Harriett Custer1 has reviewed several resources on college readiness and created abstracts for each. They provide an overview and highlight the salient points from each work. She also outlines the implications each has on AVID.

College Knowledge: What it Really Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready. David Conley, 2005. College Knowledge is based on research conducted by Conley and his colleagues through the Center for Educational Policy and Research at the University of Oregon. He draws on a strong research base; particularly important is The Standards for Success project, which Conley designed and directed between 1998 and 2001. The results of the current study are a set of standards designed for high schools and colleges to use in order to narrow the gap in the skills, knowledge and behaviors of high school graduates and what college faculty expect entering students to bring with them: the Knowledge and Skills for University Success standards (KSUS).

College and Career Ready: Helping all Students Succeed Beyond High School. David Conley, D.T., 2010. In his second book, Conley focuses on the premise that "essentially all students should be capable of pursuing formal learning opportunities beyond high school" (1). However, for a variety of reasons the vast majority of contemporary American public high schools are not adequately preparing their graduates to succeed in higher education. Conley states the problem as follows: "today's high school diploma qualifies students only for jobs that do not require what we like to think of as a high school education" (3). The fundamental concept of the comprehensive high school with two tracks for two different types of students no longer holds.  The expectations of the public (including employers) for what a high school graduate knows and is able to do are low, and the assumption is that high school graduates are not particularly well educated.

Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities. William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, Michael S. McPherson, 2009. Bowen and his colleagues are interested in exploring the "opportunity gap" and they believe that the institutions where the greatest difference can be achieved are our public colleges and universities. Two primary measures are considered throughout the report: academic attainment, defined as high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores, and socio-economic status (SES), defined as family income and parental education. The research team found "substantial gaps in graduation rates after controlling for pre-college test scores." In addition to SES, race and gender play a significant role in baccalaureate degree attainment. Among black and white students, for example, females outperform males of their race at every stage. Characteristics related to SES, race and gender that are considered include time-to-degree, financial aid, transfer, majors, grades (high school and college) and institutional selectivity. All of these variables are analyzed in detail and reported in Crossing the Finish Line.

The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion From High School Through College. Clifford Adelman, 2006. The Toolbox Revisited is a "data essay," or "story" based on a research project designed as a replication of a previous study published by the U.S. Department of Education in 1999 - Answers in the Toolbox. Both were based on analyses of cohorts of high school students: Answers in the Toolbox was based on a cohort of students who were scheduled to graduate in 1982. The Toolbox Revisited is a study of a national sample of eighth graders (over 12,000 students) scheduled to graduate from high school in 1992, and who were tracked through December 2000 (NELS:88/2000). The universe of students followed include only those who graduated from high school and had attended a higher education institution by age 26.

1 Harriett Custer was Executive Vice President for Instruction and Student Services at Skagit Valley College in Washington State. In her role there, she became involved with AVID, and was responsible for SVC becoming one of the early pilot colleges in AVID's Higher Education initiative. Custer has focused her entire career on developing, promoting and managing programs and policies that supported college student learning.