Absence of conflict of interest.
Plinski, C. M. (2018). Does AVID Higher Education (AVID HE) increase student term-to-term progression, persistence toward credited classes and social capital for first-generation college students placing into developmental education: A mixed methods study. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 10825692) doi: 10.15760/etd.6311
- The study’s objective was to assess the impact of the Advancement via Individual Determination Higher Education (AVID HE), a developmental education program, on first generation college students’ educational persistence.
- The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of students who participated in AVID HE and those who did not. Using data from college institutional records, the author tested for group differences in educational persistence.
- The study found that AVID HE participation was significantly related to higher cumulative credits and higher enrollment rates in a credit-earning writing course.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to AVID HE; other factors are likely to have contributed.
The Advancement via Individual Determination Higher Education (AVID HE)
Features of the Intervention
The Advancement via Individual Determination Higher Education (AVID HE) is a program designed to help students with low academic and college readiness skills close the academic achievement gap. AVID HE provides training in non-cognitive strategies to increase academic success such as time-management, study skills, note-taking skills, and how to think analytically and critically. The program includes the development of supports, such as student/teacher relationships and learning communities. AVID HE also trains faculty to use more effective classroom instructional strategies and provide student-centered learning environments. The program focuses on encouraging academic progress, tracking data on student learning, and enhancing collaboration within the college.
Features of the Study
The study took place at a community college in Multnomah County, Oregon. The author used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of first generation college students in developmental education who participated in the AVID HE program to those who did not. Study participants included 787 students who participated in the program and 1,413 students in the comparison group. Using college institutional records, the author examined group differences in student enrollment and completion of two introductory, credit-earning courses: one in writing and one in math. The author also assessed differences in persistence (defined as enrollment in the second term and the number of credits earned over four terms). The author used chi-square statistics to examine differences between the groups but did not control for differences in student characteristics.
Education and skills gain
- The study found a significant relationship between AVID HE participation and credits attempted and earned in the writing course. A higher percentage of students in AVID HE, compared to students who were not in the AVID HE program, enrolled in (+16%) and passed the writing course (+11%). However, no significant relationship was found between program participation and credits attempted or earned in the math course.
- A higher percentage of students (+9%) who were in AVID HE enrolled in the next term after beginning the program than did students who were not AVID HE. However, the author did not report the statistical significance of this difference.
- The study found a significant relationship between program participation and cumulative credits, with students in AVID HE having a higher number of cumulative credits than the comparison students across the four terms (ranging from 1 to 2 credits per semester).
- Similarly, students in AVID HE earned a higher number of credits in each of the four terms. However, the author did not report the statistical significance of the differences.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The author did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before program participation. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not AVID HE—could explain the observed differences in outcomes.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to AVID HE; other factors are likely to have contributed.