Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD is proud to promote the AVID College Readiness System on all seven secondary campuses in the district. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, has had over thirty years of proven success and is now implemented in 47 states and 16 countries. Designed to increase school-wide learning and performance, the AVID system accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional development, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change. Although AVID serves all students, its elective class focuses on college-bound students desiring support in mastering college readiness tools and strategies. The formula is simple - raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. 

What is AVID?

AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. You’ll see it implemented in GCISD in two ways:
  • The AVID Elective – a class of sixth, seventh, ninth, or tenth graders who applied and interviewed to be part of AVID. The AVID elective has its own curriculum based on WICOR strategies (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading) geared towards equipping them to succeed in school and, more importantly, in college. Every year GCISD will add more grade levels until eventually the AVID support system is in place for grades 6-12.

  • The AVID College Readiness System – a system of research-based instructional strategies to help EVERY student on a GCISD secondary campus be successful at completing rigorous coursework in preparation for life after high school.
The AVID system’s goal is to empower every student – not only those in the elective class – with college readiness skills. This is accomplished with the support of the AVID Site Team on each campus.

What does it mean to be "college ready?"

In his work College and Career Ready: Helping All Students Succeed Beyond High School, David Conley identified the following four dimensions of college and career readiness:
  • Key Cognitive Strategies: problem formulation, research, interpretation, communication, and precise and accurate work

  • Key Content Knowledge: understanding of principal ideas in each academic discipline

  • Academic Behaviors: a.k.a. self-management such as metacognitive strategies, study skills, and time management techniques.

  • Contextual Skills and Awareness: understanding the norms of college world and the interpersonal skills needed to cope within a new system

How does AVID help students become college ready?

AVID’s curriculum is centered around research-based best practices, called WICOR strategies:
  • Writing – Daily writing, such as Cornell note-taking, learning logs, quickwrites and reflections, process writing, peer evaluation, et al

  • Inquiry – Building inquiry into daily lessons with the use of skilled questioning techniques, Costa’s Levels of Thinking, Socratic Seminars, investigations and question-guided research

  • Collaboration – Fostering teamwork skills through activities like Socratic Seminars, Philosophical Chairs, group activities and projects, peer editing, etc.

  • Organization - Building organizational skills through time management, binder organizational system, backwards-mapping agendas and goal setting, and organized note-taking.

  • Reading – Building reading skills in every subject through deep reading strategies, note-taking, graphic organizers,vocabulary building, and summarizing

What are the three main elements of the AVID elective class?

  • Organization – Each AVID student is required to carry a 3” binder with school supplies, dividers for each class, planners and assignment logs, and schoolwork neatly organized chronologically. All AVID students complete long-range graduation and post-graduation plans, as well as set mid- and short-range goals. 

  • Cornell Notes – The Cornell Note-taking process teaches students how to take effective notes, how to process through them multiple times for retention, inquiry, and deeper content understanding, and how to use them as a study tool.

  • Tutorials – Two days a week in the AVID elective class are dedicated to Socratic tutorials. Students arrive having developed points of confusion based on what they are learning in their core academic classes. In groups of 5-7 students, they individually present their points of confusion and then help each other learn by asking high-level questions over the content, process, and product. While the groups are facilitated by a trained, college-age tutor, the power comes with the students learning to question each other’s learning so that the whole group learns together and supports each other. Socratic tutorials emulate college study groups.
 In combination, these are the three building blocks to academic success that students will take with them to college.

How are the campuses learning about AVID?

  • AVID Library – Materials available for check-out on each campus. Contains assorted AVID strategies that are applicable to every subject (critical reading, strategies for success, et al) and subject-specific strategies (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and World Languages). The strategies are derived from research-based best practices and support the transition to a learning platform in all content areas, at all instructional levels.

  • Campus AVID Site Coordinator and Elective Teacher
  • Campus AVID Site Team – These staff members attend the AVID Summer Institute and are trained in AVID methodologies. They represent different grade levels and academic contents so that AVID strategies can become systematic campus-wide. The goal is to have as many trained teachers as possible to reach the largest number of students on campus with a consistent approach to rigorous, student-driven learning.

Does research support AVID’s claims?

Since 1980, AVID has been closely studied by numerous research teams and individuals. In addition to AVID’s own data collection, AVID's success has been demonstrated by numerous third-party studies. In fact, 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. In addition, recent AVID Center data released highlights a higher college persistence rate than other college-going students from freshman year to sophomore year.