The AVID Australia project is an innovative university readiness system that explicitly and expressly prepares LSES students for tertiary study
The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Australia project is an innovative university-readiness system that explicitly prepares students from LSES, diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds for tertiary success. The AVID system provides early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary programs and has been operating in the US for over 30 years. AVID works simultaneously to support students, teachers and school leaders to improve academic, social and emotional aspects for underachieving students.
The AVID Australia program is building strong relationships between schools and universities across Australia and internationally.
AVID works with teachers to help them support disadvantaged students by providing ongoing professional learning focused on delivering collaborative, inquiry-based, high-engagement pedagogies across a whole school. These pedagogies set high academic expectations for underachieving students. The teaching strategies are augmented with AVID-trained undergraduates who act as mentors and tutors to AVID students. AVID students are acculturated into campus life by participating in lectures, learning about courses and careers, and meeting tertiary students who came from backgrounds like themselves.
The AVID Australia project has a number of objectives:
- to build stronger school–university partnerships
- to generate whole-school improvement
- to assist teaching and leadership staff to better meet the needs of underachieving students by using explicit teaching pedagogies to build their writing, inquiry, collaboration, organisation and reading skills
- to increase the numbers of LSES, diverse and disadvantaged students aspiring to access and succeed at university and beyond.
AVID Australia is HEPPP-financed and receives in-kind support from AVID Center, and participating schools and universities. The funds are used to provide ongoing professional learning for teachers and school leaders, direct support for students, and facilitates outreach activities including campus visits and accommodation for students from rural and regional areas.
An omnibus research design is underway which evaluates both short and longer-term data and tracks whole-school impact, particularly by observing any improvement to student achievement from changes in teachers’ pedagogies. A combination of teacher observations, interviews with stakeholders in the school community, student achievement measures and use of the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory developed by the University of Bristol are also being employed.
The number of AVID sites in Australia has grown from one in 2010 to 19 in 2013. Over 500 teachers in Victoria, NSW and WA have been trained in AVID strategies. The program is scalable and early indications show it is having a very strong, positive effect on whole-school improvement. Its impact will be measured over time with the expectation that the numbers of LSES, diverse and disadvantaged students aspiring to, accessing and succeeding at university will greatly increase in those sites using AVID.
This case study is one of a series of 39 presented in our case study publication, Access and Participation in Higher Education: Outreach – Access – Support.