Increasing student success is one of the major initiatives in higher education today. According to one study completed in 2012 by the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center, only 34 percent of students who enrolled in community colleges had attained either a degree or certificate six years after starting their postsecondary career. There are many reasons why students may not be successful--and now there is a research-based program that is designed to reverse this trend.
AVID for Higher Education (AHE) builds on AVID’s more than 30-year history of successfully preparing elementary and secondary students for college and career readiness. Our strong connections to higher education institutions prompted colleges and universities to ask the AVID Center to extend our efforts to college students and create the possibility of a college support pipeline with grades 4-16.
While pundits may debate the need for college for all, one fact remains clear--some type of postsecondary education is required for six out of every 10 jobs in America's knowledge-based economy (Carnevale & Desrochers, 2003). Whether the goal is a career certification or an advanced degree, reading and understanding sophisticated content, solving complex problems, and communicating those solutions skillfully, are critical skills developed in higher education and essential for citizens in the 21st century. However, while more students are accepting this challenge and enrolling in higher education, postsecondary graduation rates remain frustratingly static.
There are hard truths regarding the college completion crisis to which AVID can bring hope:
- The percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college is increasing for all racial and income groups (NASH & Education Trust, 2009); however, these gains in college access rates are not being matched by gains in college success rates (Hunt & Carruthers, 2004).
- The United States has one of the highest college-going rates in the world, yet its college-completion rate (both 2-year and 4-year) rank near the bottom half of all industrialized nations (College Board, 2008a; National Governors Association, 2008).
- Only 35% of America’s college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years and just over half (52%) graduate within six years (College Board, 2009). For students who attend college part-time, the completion rate is even lower: Less than 25% graduate within eight years (Complete College America, 2011).
- Viewing America’s current college-completion rates from an international perspective, the United States has dropped from number two in the world to number 12, and is in the process of dropping further (Complete College America, 2010). If this trend continues, the current generation of college-age Americans will be the first in U.S. history to be less educated than its parents (CCSSE, 2010).
AVID for Higher Education (AHE) is designed specifically to meet the needs of students attending a college or university. It partners with institutions of higher education to systemically address the goals of increased learning, persistence, completion and success in and beyond college. AVID assists higher education professionals in analyzing existing student support initiatives and data, identifying barriers and needs, and establishing and assessing student learning outcomes. By supporting faculty and administrators in their effort to increase student engagement, AVID also supports students in their efforts to earn a college degree and/or certificate. When implemented with fidelity, AVID impacts the expectations and behaviors of postsecondary students, faculty, and administrators through research-driven and ongoing professional learning.
In 2009, AVID Center created a pilot to systemically support structures at the college level for aspiring but under-prepared students. Six institutions of higher education from four states (California, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington), representing 2-year and 4-year institutions, participated in the pilot. The AVID for Higher Education pilot identified several key conditions necessary for AVID to effectively address student success at an institution of higher education:
- There must be strong campus leadership, vision, and support.
- Student must have access to rigorous credit-bearing coursework rather than remedial, developmental coursework.
- There must be coherence in student experiences. This coherence can be achieved through structures such as cohorts, academies, learning communities and linked classes, or innovative online options.
- Instruction must be learner-centered and engage students in AVID’s WICOR components (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading)
- Students are supported in their learning by their participation in an AVID or AVID-like course during their freshman year.
AVID for Higher Education consists of two initiatives: Student Success and Teacher Preparation. Both initiatives can be described as a holistic, integrated college-success system designed for students with the determination to succeed and for campuses and teacher education programs committed to promoting student success. AHE is predicated on the proposition that college students who have the will to succeed will succeed—if they are challenged and given the academic and psychosocial support needed to meet that challenge. AVID for Higher Education has a distinctive impact on students, faculty, and campus culture.
- The Student Success Initiative builds on the success of AVID’s precollege system that has effectively promoted high school students’ college access and preparedness of secondary students for over 30 years. By now expanding its scope to span both sides of the secondary-postsecondary bridge, AVID extends its historic mission of promoting college readiness to include college success.
- Based on the belief and history that AVID impacts the lives of students in such a powerful way, the Teacher Preparation Initiative was born. By preparing future teachers through university teacher preparation programs, we also have the opportunity to bring the AVID system full circle as these teacher candidates leave the universities prepared to teach in a manner that allows all students to be college ready.
Go to the links on the left side to explore each initiative in more depth.
- AHE Student Success Initiative Introductory Video
- AHE student speaker at the 2012 Dallas 2 Summer institute. (coming soon)
- AVID Higher Education Student Success Initiative Brochure
- AVID Higher Education Teacher Prep Brochure
- The list of campuses currently implementing AVID for Higher Education Student Success and/or Teacher Preparation Initiatives.
- The Significant Six: Effective & Distinctive Features of AVID for Higher Education Initiatives by Joseph B. Cuseo, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Psychology. This manuscript analyzes AVID for Higher Education features that align with the needs of today’s college students, describing how AVID incorporates these features and how each feature should exert a positive impact on the success of college students in general and in the underrepresented college students in particular.
- Closing the Gaps: The Relevance of AVID for Higher Education to the Current Needs of American Higher Education by Joseph B. Cuseo, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Psychology. This report reviews the current college completion rates and explains AVID for Higher Education Initiatives’ role in improving college success for all students.
- Review of Research and Practice on WICOR: AVID’s Foundation for High Engagement Teaching & Learning Prepared for AVID for Higher Education by Harriet Howell Custer, Ph.D. A series of literature reviews on the research-based best practice strategies that are cornerstones of AVID for Higher Education.
- The Bridge to Postsecondary by Evelyn Hiatt. An article that analyzes the current obstacles students face when they transition for secondary to postsecondary education and the supporting structures that the AVID College Readiness System provides for these students.