How Does It Work?
AVID coordinators and site teams select students for the program. Low-income and linguistic minority students who have average- to high-achievement test scores and C-level grades, students who would be the first in their family to attend college, and students who have special circumstances that could impede their progress to college, are eligible for AVID. The AVID curriculum at both the middle and high school level is composed of a series of libraries organized around writing as a tool of learning, inquiry, and collaboration. The curriculum is typically taught 2 or 3 days a week and AVID students complete formal writing domains based on anticipated college-level writing experiences. The previously underachieving students who are placed into college prep classes are not left to sink or swim, however. AVID has arranged a system of supports to assist students in making the transition from low-track to high-track high school classes.
"Most AVID students are underrepresented minorities - Latinos and African Americans - who may lack a college-going tradition in their family and whose success is critical to closing the achievement gap." avidonline.org
The AVID Curriculum
The AVID curriculum , based on rigorous standards, was developed by middle and senior high school teachers in collaboration with college professors. It is driven by the WICR method, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading . AVID curriculum is used in AVID elective classes, in content-area classes in AVID schools, and even in schools where the AVID elective is not offered.
The AVID Elective
Not only are students enrolled in their school's toughest classes, such as honors and Advanced Placement, but also in the AVID elective. For one period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and asking probing questions, get academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. Their self-images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students.
The AVID Faculty
One key to a successful AVID program is a site coordinator/teacher who is a respected site instructional leader who works well with secondary school personnel and college students and faculty, who can organize curriculum as well as activities, and who is committed to serving the needs of target students. The coordinator also works with colleagues to implement AVID methodologies schoolwide, to place students in college preparatory curriculum, and to work with counselors to guide students through the college application process.
The AVID Student
AVID 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 are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from low-income or minority families. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.
The AVID Parent
AVID parents encourage their students to achieve academically, participate on an advisory board and in AVID parent and site team meetings, and maintain regular contact with the AVID coordinator. Many parents and students participate in AVID Family Workshops.
The AVID Tutor
Tutors are essential to the success of the AVID elective class, where they facilitate student access to rigorous curriculum. As students from colleges and universities, tutors receive formal training and also serve as role models. AVID students who continue their education in college often return to the program as tutors.
Teaching Methodologies - WICR
WICR - or writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading - forms the basis of the AVID curriculum. It gives students the skills they need to succeed in college-preparatory classes, like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. These techniques turn students from passive learners into active classroom contributors and critical thinkers, an approach that's necessary for college admission and success.
Writing to learn. AVID emphasizes writing in all subjects, with a focus on clarifying and communicating their thoughts and understanding material.
Emphasis on inquiry. AVID is based on inquiry, not lecture. Many activities, from Cornell notetaking to tutorial groups, are built around asking questions, which forces students to clarify, analyze, and synthesize material.
A collaborative approach. The AVID classroom is not a traditional one in which a teacher lectures to passive students. An AVID teacher is a facilitator and an advocate. But students, not teachers or tutors, are responsible for their learning. Tutors function as discussion leaders, while students challenge, help, and learn from one another.
Critical reading. AVID students don't merely read words on a page. They are taught to analyze, question, critique, clarify, and comprehend the material. avidonline.org