The Effects of the Advancement Via Individual Determination on Course Taking Patterns and Achievement of High School Students
Whitaker, Vanessa Louise
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The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program was implemented to prepare students from groups traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education for eligibility, acceptance, and success in 4-year colleges and universities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of AVID on course taking patterns, weighted cumulative grade point averages, and achievement level of twelfth grade high school students. This is the first study that will provide school districts in the southeast with information on the effects of middle school and high school participation. The investigation included 7-year AVID participants (AVID-7), 3-year AVID participants (AVID-3), and non-AVID participants (AVID-0). The three research questions were: (1) Is there a difference in group membership with respect to course selection as measured by the combined number of honors and advanced standing courses; (2) is there a difference in group membership with respect to weighted cumulative grade point average; (3) is there a difference among group membership with respect to achievement as measured by scaled scores on the English: Reading/Literature and Research Standards of Learning (SOL) Test scaled scores? Descriptive statistics were used to determine the mean, standard deviation, median and mode for the groups in the study. Three one-way Analysis of Variances (ANOVAs) were used to determine whether the group means differ significantly from each other. The Dunnett C post hoc procedure was used to determine where the difference occurred in the pairs of variables. The results of the study indicated that statistically (p <.05), AVID-7 students earned more combined honors and advanced standing courses than AVID-3 or AVID-0 students and AVID-3 students earned more combined honors and advanced standing courses than AVID-0 students. There were three major findings revealed in this study. The first finding indicated that students who participated in AVID take more rigorous courses than non-AVID participants. Secondly, the length of time a student participated in AVID has an effect on the number of honors and advanced standing courses students are likely to earn. The third finding of the study indicated that students who remained in the AVID program for seven years (during middle and high school) earned a significantly higher (p <.05) weighted cumulative grade point average than non-AVID students. There were no statistically significant differences in the weighted cumulative grade point average of the AVID-3 groups. The final finding of the study indicated that there was no statistically significant difference noted in the mean English: Reading/Literature and Research SOL Test scaled scores for any group in this study. However, it must be noted that the means for the three groups differed numerically, but not statistically. For example, the AVID-7 group had a mean scaled score of 476, the AVID-3 group had a mean scaled score of 455, and the AVID-0 group had a mean scaled score of 450. These scaled scores were different, but not statistically different (p >.05). It appears that participation in AVID does affect the course selection and the weighted cumulative grade point average of students who participate in the AVID program from grades 6 through 12. These results indicate that AVID-7 students take more rigorous courses and perform well in them. Students in the program only during middle school enroll in more rigorous courses than non-AVID (AVID-0) students but their weighted cumulative grade point average is statistically the same as non-AVID participants. Even though AVID-7 and AVID-3 students earned higher mean English: Reading SOL scaled scores than AVID-0 students, after performing the analysis of variance (ANOVA), there was no statistically significant difference in the scores(p >.05). In this era of accountability, school districts are searching for viable programs that affect the academic performance of students. The AVID program appears to make a positive impact on students who participate in the program from grades 6 through 12. These students enroll in more rigorous courses and perform better academically in those courses as evidenced by their weighted cumulative grade point average. However, the evidence is not as conclusive for students who participate in the program during middle school (grades 6 through 8). These students appear to make gains in their course selections, but their achievement in these courses is not impacted. If school districts are to receive the full benefit of the AVID program, they should consider implementing the program from grades 6 through 12. It is apparent that AVID middle school students who remain in the AVID program during high school realized higher academic achievement than non-AVID students. Educational leaders in school districts should consider these findings before implementing the AVID program.
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