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What is AVID?


AVID is an education program designed to boost the academic results of students regardless of their background or disadvantage. Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) believes that any student, given the right strategies and support, can be prepared for future study and work opportunities.

With a proven track-record that spans over 37 years, AVID has consistently delivered for millions of students, boasting an average graduation rate of 98%. The program is recognised internationally for its effectiveness and was highlighted in the OECD report, Excellence and Quality in Education (page 141) as a case study of excellence in combining both quality and equity in improving students’ education outcomes.


AVID understands that the first step to improving a student’s performance is teaching them how to learn. Rigorous content alone will not bring students success if they are not equipped with the habits and strategies that help them to process and digest information.

The AVID program’s main focus is to provide students, teachers and schools with the expertise and support to build this foundational first step. In doing so, students build confidence in their own abilities and become determined to achieve the results of which they are truly capable.


The AVID program was started in 1980 by an English teacher, Mary Catherine Swanson. She wanted to find a solution to the chronic academic underachievement she saw in her class amongst students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. Her strategy was simple: enrol students in rigorous classes and provide them with the support and strategies to learn – and it worked. Out of her first 32 students, all of them went to university (most to prestigious and Ivy League schools).

Over the following decades, AVID has continued to calibrate its approach and have built an effective and scalable model of school improvement that has been successfully replicated in close to 6000 sites across the USA and Australia.


AVID’s journey in Australia started in 2011, when The Victoria Institute (Victoria University) received Commonwealth HEPPP competitive funding of $1.4m to trial and research the implementation of the program in Australia. The trial proved successful and in 2015 AVID Center (USA) issued AVID Australia with an exclusive site license for Australia.

Today, AVID is being implemented at more than 50 sites across Australia, equipping several thousand students with AVID strategies every year. 


Since its introduction in Australia, the AVID program and AVID educators have received a number of awards.

  • Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Principal of the Year 2012
  • UniSuper and Campus Review Award for Excellence in Innovation 2014
  • VU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Knowledge Exchange 2014
  • Winner of a ChooseMaths 2016 Teaching Award
  • Finalist in Queensland College of Teachers Excellence Award 2016
  • Western Australian Primary Deputy Principal of the Year 2016
  • AVID Higher Education educator received the Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at the Australian Awards for University Teaching 2016
  • Finalist in WA Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer of the Year 2017
  • Finalist in the Teachers Mutual Bank Showcase Award for State School of the Year State 2018
  • Finalist in the NT Principal of the Year 2018
  • Finalist in the Australian Education Awards – Secondary School of the Year – Government 2018
  • Finalist and Highly Commended in the Australian Education Awards – Regional School of the Year 2018
  • Finalist in the Australian Education Awards – Best Professional Learning Program 2018
  • Finalist in Dr Lawrie Shears Excellence in Global Teaching and Learning Award – Victorian Education Excellence Awards 2019
  • Winner of the WA Premier’s Secondary Teacher of the Year Award – WA Education Awards 2019
  • Winner of the WA Secondary Principal of the Year Award – WA Education Awards 2019
  • Finalist for the Best STEM Program – Australian Education Awards 2019
  • Finalist for the Innovation in Curriculum Design – Australian Education Awards 2019
  • Finalist for the Best Student Wellbeing Program – Australian Education Awards 2019
  • Finalist for the School Principal of the Year – Government – Australian Education Awards 2019
  • Teaching Fellows Recipient of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards 2019
  • Teaching Fellows Recipient of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards 2020

Contact us

P: +61 3 9919 7832