Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Douglas B. Fisher, PhD; Cheryl L. Mason, PhD; Robert L. Infantino, EdD


Advancement Via Individual Determination--AVID, AVID program graduates, case study, college transition, critical reading, expository writing, first year of college, higher education, teachers


Although the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program has been operating in San Diego County for more than twenty years, there was a lack of research investigating how AVID program graduates experienced the transition to college. A well-established positive correlation between acceptances to four-year universities by AVID program graduates exists, but research on AVID lacked individual student narrative needed to give more depth to the data. The purpose of this case study was to investigate the transition experiences of AVID program graduates who were beginning their second year of college at competitive four-year public universities. All eight participants, in the AVID pre-college program for at least three years, had successfully transitioned to the university. The study was framed by two research questions: (1) How did AVID program graduates adapt academically and culturally to a four-year public university during their first year? (2) In what ways did they attribute their persistence in college to their high school AVID experience? The findings indicated that the participants, all first generation college, felt both academically and culturally challenged during the transitional year, especially in the areas of critical reading and expository writing. Some participants, not accustomed to the academic reading and writing standards of the university, used a trial and error method to attempt to meet the requirements and did not consistently execute the strategies learned in AVID. These students reported missing classes and avoiding reading assignments. This lack of academic persistence was troublesome for AVID trained students, especially in the critical early stages of college transition. As the students moved through the transition phase, they showed evidence of developing an academic identity, and increasing skill navigating university culture. All participants still utilized several AVID study techniques such as Cornell note-taking and study groups. Support given by participants' families was a reoccurring theme, but their families lacked the knowledge to help these students enter college. AVID teachers filled this gap by becoming surrogate school parents who provided social and cultural capital in the form of information, study skills and organizational structure, which allowed the participants to navigate their way into college and persist.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access