The British Columbia Advancement Via Individual Determination (BC AVID) pilot project was established by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Education to test how effectively the AVID program increases access to post-secondary education (PSE) in a Canadian context.
The goal of AVID is to support "middle achieving" students with a B to C average who are motivated to pursue PSE. It encourages students to acquire skills that promote academic success (such as good work habits and organizational skills) and that enable them to cope with the demands of the more rigorous courses that are often pre-requisites for entry to post-secondary education. The program places students in these advanced academic courses and in an AVID elective class focused on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and study skills and includes regular tutorials with older students. AVID programs are coordinated by the non-profit AVID Center in San Diego, which supports and certifies AVID sites worldwide. The program was established in 1980, and by 2004 was operating in 1,800 schools in the United States and one school district in Canada (Chilliwack, B.C.). The project has allowed the program to expand to an additional 18 school sites in B.C.
The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) is conducting the evaluation of the BC AVID pilot project as a social experiment. Grade 8 student volunteers were randomly assigned to one of up to three experimental groups: a program group that receives the program, a comparison group or a waitlist group. Because program and comparison groups are similar in all other respects, differences in students’ experiences over time can be attributed to the impact of the program. A waitlist group was created – where sample numbers were sufficient – to enable any emerging vacancies in the class to be filled.
The BC AVID pilot project involves over 1,500 students in 18 schools. At 14 schools, students were recruited and randomly assigned to the experimental groups. Four schools were included as case study sites to help identify the challenges of implementing AVID at rural and remote schools. In all, roughly 900 students were assigned to receive AVID, 170 were placed on a waitlist for the program, and 450 were allocated to the comparison group.
The primary impact of interest is students’ enrolment in PSE and completion of their first year of studies. However, the project is also interested in determining the impact of AVID on high school course selection, attendance, and graduation as well as PSE program selection, program financing, student persistence, and program completion. In addition, BC AVID includes an implementation evaluation and a cost-benefit analysis.
Two cohorts of students were recruited for BC AVID, the first in early 2005 and the second in 2006, when students were in Grade 8. Schools began delivery of the AVID program in Grade 9 (starting September 2005). The second cohort of students began Grade 9 AVID a year later. This means it will be possible to observe the first cohort’s PSE enrolment in 2010, and the second in 2011. In November 2008, SRDC published its first report on the project entitled, BC AVID Pilot Project: Early Implementation Report. This report documented the design and early implementation of the project. The interim impacts report was published in November 2010, and the final report was published in August 2014.
The BC AVID pilot project was funded by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.