Education Letter to the Editor

AVID Director Calls Article Disappointing

May 24, 2011 1 min read

To the Editor:

The article “Popular AVID Program Yields Mixed Results in Chicago” (Education Week, May 11, 2011) was extremely disappointing in that it highlighted a study based only on academic data on students completing one year of AVID’s multiyear, systemic program. The notion of improving standardized-test scores after one year of exposure to AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is something we neither expect nor suggest will occur.

We have also learned that the Consortium on Chicago School Research study has not yet been submitted for peer review or publication. This would suggest that the presentation at the American Educational Research Association convention, from which the information was extracted, was ill-timed. College readiness is a developmental process that is supported and accelerated when AVID is implemented with fidelity over the course of a student’s academic career.

The AVID College Readiness System is a structure for learning that stresses academic rigor, schoolwide implementation, and lifelong learning skills. Acquiring and perfecting these skills to make meaningful gains on performance measures takes time and practice. First- and second-year AVID students typically report significant transformation in the areas of organization, study skills, school connectedness (AVID family), and their aspirations to attend college. These foundational psychosocial skills are key elements in the acceleration of academic ability and success.

Over the past five years, more than 85,000 AVID seniors graduated at a rate of 98.96 percent, with more than 90 percent planning to attend college. In 2010, 74 percent of AVID seniors reported taking at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course, with 61 percent taking the corresponding exam. Results also show that 2010 AVID seniors completed four-year college-entrance requirements at a rate more than two times that of their peers.

AVID transforms students, schools, and even entire districts. (Odessa, Texas, is a great example of where AVID is implemented in elementary through postsecondary education.) I encourage you to talk to AVID seniors and their teachers to find out how AVID not only changed their trajectory to graduation, but also to college and beyond.

Jim Nelson

Executive Director, AVID San Diego, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the May 25, 2011 edition of Education Week as AVID Director Calls Article Disappointing