Masters Thesis

Evaluating the effectiveness of AVID writing strategies for mastering literacy skills: teacher perceptions on professional development

With the ever-present demand the new Common Core State Standards are placing on various educational stakeholders, the instructional community is seeking pedagogical strategies to utilize in their classrooms. Strategies applied by the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) surround the rigorous methodologies of writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading. These strategies have extensively prepared students to be competitive in a 21st century world and to meet the demands of college-readiness. As the Common Core Standards are recently adopted, little research has been completed in addressing what strategies can be applied to master these standards. This research study was conducted to explore what familiarity or comfort level teachers have with writing specific AVID strategies. Further, the study evaluates the effectiveness of an AVID training workshop based on teacher participant perceptions. The AVID essentials have a distinct correlation to the Common Core State Standards as both focus on literacy and 21st century skills. This action research study is in conjunction with the Kern High School District (the largest 9-12 comprehensive high school district in California located in the southern San Joaquin Valley) AVID professional development series. Study results revealed that teacher participants report an increased understanding of AVID writing strategies and their Common Core connection following professional development. Participants report an intent to implement various strategies in their instructional practices and value the link between AVID essentials and the Common Core Standards. Recommendations are made for the further implementation of professional development workshops available for educators of all content areas and various teaching experience levels. Further, the inclusion of AVID strategies and Common Core instruction as a facet of beginning teacher programs is endorsed. These recommendations have the potential to address the dire need that educators have with addressing the Common Core Literacy Standards in their classrooms.

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