Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)- Is it a Cherry-Pick Student Patch Program for College Preparation?

Low-income and underrepresented minorities in the U.S. continue to grapple with systemic challenges that threaten their ability to attain a college education. This is even despite the historic reversal of laws promoting long-standing inequalities on access to a higher education and more recent reforms with the implementation of pre-college preparation programs. Existing research indicates that low-income and underrepresented minorities continue to lag behind in college persistence and completion. The implications of not attaining a college education are significant for low-income and underrepresented minorities who are already at the bottom of the economic strata. It was estimated that by 2018, 62 percent of U.S. jobs would require a college education and over half of those jobs would require a four-year degree (Dyce, Albold & Long, 2012). Further, if the current U.S. college graduation trends persist, there will be a shortage of 16 to 23 million college-educated adults in the workplace by 2025 (Lumina Foundation Strategic Plan 2017-2020). This study aims to evaluate the policy intent and outcomes of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, a national pre-college preparation program at U.S. public schools, for disenfranchised youth. More specifically, while research shows that AVID has helped to narrow the college entry gap, little research exists on its effectiveness with increasing college persistence and completion (Tierney & Hagedorn, 2002). As such, this study seeks to inform the AVID program's claim that students will fulfill their potential and succeed in college if the high schools implement the strategies and curriculum delivered by programs like AVID. Specifically, four-year university graduates and non-graduates who were AVID and non-AVID South Hills High School students will be targeted. The results of the study could add to the limited research that exists specifically about the impact of AVID on college persistence and completion and shed light on the most effective methods to increase college persistence and completion at higher education institutions.