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

Advancement Via Individual Determination

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

En Español

AVID – Why that name?


AVID’s founder, Mary Catherine Swanson, believed that if students were willing to work hard, she could teach them the skills needed to successfully complete the rigorous courses that would prepare them for four-year universities. She required students to take ownership of their own learning and futures, hence the acronym Advancement Via Individual Determination.

What is AVID?


AVID Center is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. AVID Center was founded to support and oversee the AVID System first created by Mary Catherine Swanson in 1980. Established more than 35 years ago with one teacher in one classroom, AVID today impacts more than 1.2 million students in 44 states and 16 other countries/territories.

What does College Readiness mean?


College readiness refers to the level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed—without remediation—in a credit-bearing general education coursework at a college or university. According to research done by Dr. David T. Conley, being college-ready means students understand what is expected in a college course, can cope with the content knowledge presented, can take away from the course the key intellectual lessons, and have both the mindset and disposition necessary to enable understanding.

The AVID College Readiness System works to ensure students are college-ready by equipping them with the skills, academic behaviors, and college knowledge necessary to succeed at every level from elementary school to college. AVID helps students develop a vision for their future, gain confidence in their abilities, and take ownership of their learning.

What is the “achievement gap”?


The achievement gap refers to the difference in the educational performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender. The achievement gap is typically discussed in the context of standardized test scores, grade point average, dropout rates, and/or college enrollment and completion rates. AVID is closing the achievement gap, with AVID students consistently outperforming their peers.

How are students selected for the AVID Elective?


The AVID Elective 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 students are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. Often times, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from socio-economically disadvantaged families.

Teachers, administrators and/or other faculty typically recommend students, and the selection process usually involves an interview. Though AVID provides guidelines and expectations, final selections and processes are left to the schools.

Why students in the academic middle? Why do AVID students have to take advanced coursework?


Students in the academic middle often move through our educational systems without any special recognition, positive or negative. While many of these students go on to graduate from high school, since they haven’t been pushed academically, they are often not ready for rigorous coursework in college upon graduation. When a school has AVID, students in the AVID Elective and throughout the school are held to higher expectations and given the support they need to succeed and prepare for postsecondary opportunities. By pushing students into more rigorous coursework, encouraging, assisting, and advocating for them every day, AVID greatly increases the likelihood of students making it to and through college.

Who are AVID tutors, what do they do, and how are they selected?


AVID tutorials and AVID tutors play a vital role in the AVID Elective class, while also benefiting other content area classes in a school. Using their knowledge and experience, AVID trained tutors facilitate learning in study groups by subject that leads to increased student participation and success. Tutors are typically college students, often AVID Alumni that create an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and deepen their understanding of content and concepts in a collaborative, supportive setting. Tutors are essential to the success of AVID, acting as a resource and role model for AVID students both academically and socially.

How does AVID support English language learners?


AVID Excel works to ensure middle school English language learner (ELL) students can succeed in high school college preparatory coursework. AVID Excel interrupts students’ long-term ELL (L-TELL) status and accelerates their academic language acquisition, while giving them the strategies and supports which are the hallmarks of the AVID College Readiness System.

How does AVID help with STEM? (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)


AVID Center developed four STEM Math and Science Summer Bridge Programs to strengthen AVID’s support for middle level student achievement in math and science and to encourage student acceleration and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The AVID STEM Summer Bridge Programs offer rigorous math and science content incorporating WICOR strategies in engaging, collaborative lessons and activities.

Where does AVID fit in with the Common Core?


While the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) describe “what” students should know, AVID strategies provide “how” students will learn and master the knowledge and skills needed to meet the standards. The expectations of AVID align with CCSS in many ways and are embedded within the curriculum to meet the rigorous expectations. For example, the higher-level thinking skills required by the CCSS (i.e., analyzing, comparing, inferring) are the exact skills that AVID has promoted and used to design its curriculum for the last 30 years.

How do I get AVID at my school?


AVID can be in any K-12, elementary or secondary school when the school district is an active AVID member. If you are a school or school district interested in being an AVID member or seeing AVID in action, please contact the divisional office nearest you to visit a location and start the membership process. For secondary schools/districts, we encourage you to visit one of our AVID National Demonstration Schools as it is one of the best ways to fully understand and directly appreciate AVID’s impact.

Colleges and universities interested in AVID for Higher Education can contact AVIDforHigherEducation@avid.org for the steps involved.

Who pays for AVID?


When schools, colleges, and universities are ready to implement the AVID College Readiness System, AVID Center and district/campus leadership work together in a membership contract to suit the needs of the district/campus.

Districts, schools, colleges and universities can use federal and state funding and local funds, as well as private grants to help fund AVID at their site. AVID Center has developed resources to help school districts and institutions of higher education seek funding for their AVID implementation through grants, partnerships, and other sources.

My student is not in the AVID Elective. How does he/she benefit?


Although AVID is an elective course for selected students, ALL students will benefit because the methodologies, strategies, and expectations are schoolwide and impact the learning environment and culture of an entire campus. AVID is designed to impact the leadership, systems, instruction and culture of a school to support high expectations and levels of achievement for all students. AVID impacts students throughout the school when trained teachers use AVID strategies to influence the academic and behavioral skills of their students in all content classes. AVID’s vision is to impact over 1,000,000 students by 2020 and create college-going campuses where all students graduate college-ready.

Why is AVID Summer Institute only for AVID members?


AVID Summer Institute provides professional learning for AVID schools and their AVID Elective teachers, content area teachers, counselors, and administrators. AVID District Directors may also attend Summer Institute. The training focuses on learning the methodologies that go along with the AVID curriculum and also provides student support strategies that are part of becoming an AVID site. Summer Institute is also an opportunity for AVID educators to collaborate, network and share best practices. Non-AVID members are welcome to come to the AVID National Conference or an AVID Showcase.

Who can I contact with more questions about AVID?


Please browse the website for great resources about all the facets of AVID and contact one of our divisional offices for more specific information or questions.