Advancement Via Individual Determination & First Year College Success

Advancement Via Individual Determination & First Year College Success

Abstract

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program has been around for over three decades and much research has been done on the effectiveness of the AVID program and the impact it has on the lives of the students who have been a part of AVID while in elementary, middle, and high school. Yet there is very little research on what happens to AVID students once they graduate from high school and enter the world of college. The purpose of this mixed-methods research study is to investigate what happens to high school AVID students once they graduate and enter college in order to determine what impact if any the AVID program has on students’ first year academic success. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. FOUNDATIONS

INRODUCTION

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program began in one Clairemont High School classroom 32 years ago and has grown to serve over 425,000 elementary, middle, and high school students in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and 16 countries/territories (AVID Center, 2012). Much research has been done on the effectiveness of the AVID program and the impact it has on the lives of the students who have been a part of AVID while in elementary, middle, and high school; however there is very little research on what happens to AVID students once they graduate from high school and enter the world of college.

The brainchild of Mary Catherine Swanson, former Clairemont High School English Department Chair and AP teacher, AVID was created in 1980 as a response to a federal court order to desegregate San Diego City Schools. Before this time, more than 80% of Clairemont students went on to college after graduating; however with those affluent students moving to another school, only to be replaced by 500 low-income, ethnically diverse students most of whom had been in remedial courses and had parents with no college experience, much of the school’s faculty fled (Shaughnessy, 2005). Mary Catherine Swanson stayed, believing that the new students were just as intelligent as their more affluent peers they just hadn’t experienced or had access to the same educational and cultural advantages (Shaughnessy, 2005). With this mindset, Advancement Via Individual Determination was born. Swanson started with 30 students, enrolled them in rigorous college preparatory courses and provided them with academic support via the AVID elective class (Shaughnessy, 2005). With the support of the newly created AVID program, 28 of the original 30 AVID students enrolled in four-year colleges and 2 enrolled in community college; and all of them have since graduated from a four-year institution (Shaughnessy, 2005).

The secrets to the success of the AVID program are the teacher of the AVID elective class who serves as mentor, coach and advocate; the academically average, first-generation, low-income, minority students who have the capacity and deep desire to excel; and the AVID elective curriculum that focuses on time-management, organization, and note-taking skills combined with tutorial sessions and an intensive writing to learn, inquiry based critical questioning, collaboration, and critical reading curriculum (WICR). When AVID students are placed in rigorous courses that include advanced, honors, AP/IB, and dual-enrollment courses, they have the tools and support they need to be academically successful, thus meeting four-year college entrance requirements.

Additionally, according to a 2001 research study by Horn & Kojaku that took a closer look at the relationship between high school academic curricula and students’ persistence path through college, it stands to reason that AVID students are also provided with the skills and rigorous course experience they need to be successful once entering college as well. Horn & Kojaku (2001) concluded that even though students from low-income families whose parents did not obtain an education higher than high school, and students who attended a high school where a significant proportion of the students receive free/reduced lunch were all less likely to have completed a rigorous academic high school curriculum in comparison to their more advantaged peers; however socio-economically disadvantaged (low-income/first-generation) students can overcome such disadvantages by completing a rigorous high school academic curriculum.

AVID as it is today, has moved beyond the AVID elective classroom and has transformed into a college readiness system designed to increase school-wide learning and performance for all students, not just students enrolled in the AVID elective course (avidonline.org, 2012). In addition, AVID has three decades worth of data driven evidence proving it is an amazingly effective college preparatory program. One of the most impressive statistics is the percentage of AVID students who apply and are accepted to four-year institutions. From the 2010-11 graduating class, 89% of AVID seniors applied and 74% were accepted to four-year colleges; those students who met four-year college entrance requirements raged from a low of 85% of AVID seniors in Washington to a high of 95% of AVID seniors in Maryland compared to the National average of only 36% (AVID Center, 2012). There is no doubt that AVID is something special; yet the question as to what happens to those graduating AVID seniors once they attend college still lingers unanswered.

Of the first six AVID classes of students taught by Mary Catherine Swanson in the 1980s, 178 of 181 enrolled in college; 89% went on to four-year institutions, and 11% went to community college; and they graduated with a cumulative grade point average of 2.46-2.47 (Swanson, 1989). As freshmen in college, those students maintained an average grade point average of 1.9 at San Diego State University to 2.83 at the University of California San Diego (Swanson, 1989). Yet after this group of students, no formal data tracking system exists once AVID students leave high school, and there is no data on whether all of the 178 AVID students who enrolled in college persisted and obtained a bachelor’s degree. 

In addition, there is compelling research data regarding first-generation college students who are traditionally at a significant disadvantage in gaining access to higher education that shows that first-generation students did not perform as well as their peers during not only the first year of college, but throughout their entire undergraduate enrollment (Chen 2005). Furthermore, Chen (2005) found that first-generation status was negatively associated with lower bachelor’s degree completion rates; however students who earned higher grades and more credits during their first year of college and repeated and withdrew from fewer classes, including first-generation students, had a better chance of “persisting” and attaining a bachelor’s degree.

Additional research by Warburton, Bugarin & Nunez (2001), intended to build on earlier research in an effort to glean a better understanding regarding the true extent to which first-generation students’ academic preparation in high school affects their persistence in college and attainment of a postsecondary degree, examined the relationship between first-generation students’ secondary preparation and postsecondary persistence when compared to students whose parents attended college. As a result of the study, Warburton, Bugarin & Nunez (2001) found that overall, students who took a rigorous high school course load were very likely to persist in a four-year postsecondary institution; however a parent’s level of education was associated with a student’s postsecondary retention and persistence, and first-generation students were less likely than their peers whose parents attended college to stay on a persistence path toward attainment of a bachelor’s degree. Thus, even though the playing field was not completely leveled by the rigor of secondary coursework, the researchers nevertheless concluded that regardless of parents’ education a student’s level of secondary academic preparation remains an important predictor of retention and persistence in college and that providing first-generation college students with the opportunity to take rigorous courses in high school will increase their chances of persisting and obtaining a four-year degree (Warburton, Bugarin & Nunez, 2001).

However, as a result of a gap in research on the postsecondary impact of pre-college preparation programs, such as AVID, on low-income, minority, and first-generation students Mediola, Watt & Huerta (2010) found that the outcome of their 2010 qualitative research study supports how postsecondary programs such as AVID help prepare students for the rigors of college. Such research paved the way for future studies on the impact of AVID students’ college-going rates. For example, Watt, Huerta & Alkan (2011) whose research indicates that AVID students showed a greater college retention rate than their non-AVID peers; students who take advantage and participate in college-preparation activities in high school such as AVID and dual-enrollment are predictors of college success; and certain components of the AVID program such as Cornell-notes and AVID’s family-like support system provide the tools and motivation students need in order to achieve their academic goals.

Yet despite all the research supporting the idea that AVID students should theoretically stay on track and persist on a college path that leads to a bachelor’s degree, the question still remains, what really happens to AVID students once they graduate from high school and enter the world of college?

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

How does participation in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program impact the academic success of first year college students?

a)         Are those students on track to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in five years or less?

b)         What components of the AVID program do students report as contributors to their first year college success?

III.       METHODS

PURPOSE

The purpose of this section is to describe the action research design and procedure that will be used to answer the research questions: How does participation in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program impact the academic success of first year college students?

a)         Are those students on track to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in five years or less?

b)         What components of the AVID program do students report as contributing to their first year college success?

ACTION RESEARCH PLAN

The Advancement Via Individual Determination program has been around for over three decades and much research has been done on the effectiveness of the AVID program and the impact it has on the lives of the students who have been a part of AVID while in elementary, middle, and high school. Yet there is very little research on what happens to AVID students once they graduate from high school and enter the world of college.

The purpose of this mixed-methods research study is to investigate what happens to high school AVID students once they graduate and enter college in order to determine what impact if any the AVID program has on students’ first year academic success. The research study will take place over the course of a five week period, beginning June 25, 2012, whereby students from the Point Loma High School graduating AVID class of 2011 will be contacted for voluntary participation. Once students have responded that they would like to participate, a consent form added to an AVID student survey (created using survey monkey) will be emailed and posted on Facebook. The survey will be sent out on a Wednesday and all should be collected by the following Wednesday.  Upon receipt of the consent form and completed surveys, data analysis should begin the following week. Overall, the entire research study from consent to data analysis should take no longer than four weeks.

SETTING

            The research study will take place using data collected from the Point Loma High School AVID class of 2011. Point Loma High School (PLHS) is located in a suburban beach community in San Diego, California. With approximately 2000 ethnically and socio-economically diverse students in grades 9-12, Point Loma High School is the third largest high school in the San Diego Unified School District. The AVID program at PLHS has been in place for close to three decades. The PLHS AVID program serves roughly 80 (varies from year to year) low-income, first-generation, and/or traditionally under-represented students in four-year colleges/universities through a four-year college preparatory elective course scheduled within the school day. The mission of the AVID program itself however goes beyond the confines of the elective class. According to the AVID Center (2012) website, the mission of AVID “is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.”

            PLHS AVID students must voluntarily apply to be part of the four-year program. All applications are reviewed and then consequently approved by the AVID Coordinator, AVID Elective Teacher(s), and the AVID Site Team; any student may apply, however not all students are accepted.  Students are strongly encouraged to remain in AVID all four years; however some students opt to not continue for various reasons including transfer of schools, scheduling conflicts, and program rigor.

PARTICIPANTS

            Participants for this research study will be chosen through non-probability convenience sampling. The participants will consist of voluntary and informed first year college students from the PLHS AVID graduating class of 2011; sixteen (eleven female, five male) AVID students have been identified as meeting this criteria, however, it is unknown at this time how many will volunteer to participate. Therefore, specific demographic data will be presented after the research study has been conducted. At the time of the present research study, all potential participants are over the age of 18.

INSTRUMENTATION

            The instrumentation used in this research study, AVID Student Survey, was developed by the researcher using surveymonkey.com. The survey consists of three pages: Consent Form; Student Information; and AVID Information. The Student Information page asks students for basic information about themselves such as, their name, what college they attend, what their GPA is, and how many college credit they have earned. The AVID Information page is designed with open-ended questions such as, “Were any of the skills you learned in AVID helpful during your first year of college?”; “How do you think AVID contributed to your academic performance during your first year of college?”; “How do you think AVID could have better prepared you for your first year of college?” Responses to such questions will enable the researcher to better understand from an AVID student’s perspective what he/she believes contributed to his/her academic success during the first year of college.

PROCEDURES

            Once initial contact has been made with all sixteen students via a previously created “private” page, PLHS AVID, and “closed group”, 2011 AVID Grads, on Facebook (emails will be sent to the three students without Facebook), the next goal will be to find willing participants; a minimum of five students will be needed to continue the research study. Once students have agreed to volunteer, the researcher will email students a survey link that contains a consent form and survey. Students will have one week to complete the online survey; the survey link will also be posted on Facebook on the “private” PLHS AVID page, in the “closed group”, 2011 AVID Grads. Only those students who complete the online survey containing the consent form will be able to participate in the research study. The researcher will utilize previously collected high school transcripts in order to build an academic foundation for the students participating in the research study. After the survey has been submitted by the participants, the researcher will begin analyzing the data.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

When conducting any type of research, the researcher must take into consideration the ethical concerns regarding the study’s participants. For this research study, the researcher must take the necessary precautions to ensure participants’ rights are respected.   As previously mentioned in the Procedures section of this paper, the researcher must obtain informed consent from all participants. A consent form will be included in the online student survey; student participants must volunteer to participate in order to complete the survey; parental consent is not applicable because all participants are over the age of 18. The purpose of the consent form is to clearly describe the purpose and benefits of the research being done. The form will explain that by giving consent, participants are volunteering to be part of the research study, but may terminate their participation at any time for any reason without consequence. In addition, the consent forms will inform the participants regarding their confidentiality and privacy, risks and benefits of the research study, and whom to contact for answers to questions regarding the research study and participants’ rights.

DATA ANALYSIS PLAN

            Data analysis will be conducted by analyzing transcript data along with students’ survey responses. High school transcript data will be used for academic foundational and demographic purposes. The transcripts will allow the researcher to share students’ academic backgrounds including participation in dual-enrollment and AP courses prior to graduating high school. The researcher will also utilize students’ overall academic GPAs at the time of high school graduation. The student survey will provide demographic and background data as well as current college GPAs and the number of credit hours completed; this information will allow the researcher to determine whether each participating AVID student is on track to graduate (meeting minimum GPA and credit accumulation required to graduate in four to five years). Student responses to open-ended survey questions will allow the researcher to note common themes amongst the group of surveyed students. In addition, the open-ended question responses will help the researcher improve AVID instruction and guidance as well as offer advice for current and future AVID students in order to better prepare themselves for first year college success. Furthermore, the researcher plans to share this information with the PLHS AVID Site Team in an effort to improve the school’s AVID program.   

IV.       DATA ANALYSIS

PURPOSE

            The purpose of this section is to describe and analyze the transcript and survey data collected during this research study in an effort to answer the research questions: How does participation in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program impact the academic success of first year college students?

c)         Are those students on track to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in five years or less?

d)         What components of the AVID program do students report as contributing to their first year college success?

DATA COLLECTION

            Data was collected between June and July 2012. Sixteen Point Loma High School AVID students graduated in 2011. The researcher was only able to get in touch via email, Facebook, and word of mouth with fourteen students. All fourteen AVID students initially agreed to participate in the research study. Each of the fourteen students received an emailed copy of the survey in pdf form prior to the survey being disseminated through Survey Monkey. Surveys were sent later that day via email/Survey Monkey; a link to the student survey was also posted on the 2011 AVID Grads closed and private Facebook page. The students were given one week to complete the survey. Eleven of the fourteen completed the Informed Consent page of the survey in addition to the first half of the survey; eight students completed the entire survey and were thus included in the analysis of the data.

DEMOGRAPHICS

            The participants in this mixed methods research study consisted of voluntary and informed first year college students from the Point Loma High School AVID graduating class of 2011; sixteen (eleven female, five male) AVID students were identified as meeting this criteria, however, the researcher was only able to make initial contact with fourteen students. Of the fourteen initial volunteers, eleven completed all or part of the student survey; because three of the eleven students did not complete the entire survey, they will be excluded from the study. 

The final eight student participants (six female, two male) completed their first year of college during the 2011-12 school year. According to the completed surveys, all of the participants are 18-19 years of age; six identify their ethnicity as “Hispanic” or “Mexican”; one as “White/Hispanic”; and one as “Asian”. Four participants stated that the highest level of school completed by their mother was a high school degree or equivalent; three reported their mother as completing less than a high school degree; and one reported her mother received an Associate degree. Five participants stated that the highest level of school completed by their father was a high school degree or equivalent; and three reported their father as completing less than a high school degree. Seven of the eight students receive the Federal Pell Grant, which for the purpose of this research study qualifies them as “low-income”. Six of the students currently attend a four-year college/university and two attend community college; of those six attending a four-year institution, five attend four-year public schools in California and one attends a private school out of state. All eight students were enrolled in the PLHS AVID program for at least three years; seven of those students were in the program all four years of high school and four students participated in AVID five or more years and all eight participated in AVID for at least four years including middle and high school.

FINDINGS

QUANTITATIVE TRANSCRIPT DATA

            High school transcript data was used to determine a baseline for students’ academic performance throughout high school. An overall “academic” GPA was calculated for each of the eight participants from grades nine-twelve; and the number of honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses was tabulated for each student. “Academic” GPA consists of courses taken in English, mathematics, history, foreign language, visual and performing arts, and AVID; weighted credit was applied to any honors and AP courses taken. It is important to note that dual-enrollment course grades are not reported on students’ high school transcripts and thus are not included in the students’ “academic” GPA; however all eight students participated in at least one dual-enrollment program while in high school and seven of the eight participated in two dual-enrollment programs. 

            From the transcript data, academic GPAs ranged from a low of 2.6 to a high of 4.0, and an average of 3.57. All eight students took five or more AP courses (three of the eight took 6); five students completed two honors courses, two completed one, and one student did not complete any honors courses. In addition, all eight students completed a math course beyond Intermediate Algebra, and six of the eight students completed a math course beyond Pre-calculus.

QUANTITATIVE SURVEY DATA

            According to the survey data, seven of the eight students reported their current university status as that of a sophomore and one reported to be of junior status; all eight students began college in the fall of 2011 and completed their first year in the spring of 2012 without interruption. Seven of the eight students have declared a major in the social or biological sciences and one student has yet to declare a major. Five students reported an expected graduation date in the spring of 2015; two anticipate graduating in the spring of 2014; and one student reported his graduation date to be 2013 (it is unknown if he intended that date to be his graduation from community college). According to these estimations, all eight students report that they will graduate in at least four years.

            College GPAs for the 2011-2012 school year range from a low of 1.69 to a high of 3.73 with an average of 2.9. It is important to note that the student with the lowest college GPA is not the student with the lowest academic high school GPA, and the student with the highest academic high school GPA is not the student with the highest college GPA.

In order to calculate whether students were on track to graduate in four-five years, unit data was grouped based on four-year semester system, four-year quarter system, or other (private); the two students attending community college will be estimated on a semester system for the purpose of this study as it is unknown what type of system they will transfer into. Students who attend colleges on a semester system on average must complete a total of 125 units in order to graduate; thus in order to be considered “on-track” to graduate for the purpose of this research study students must have completed a minimum of 25 units. Four of the eight students attend a two or four year college on the semester system, and all four report they have completed at least 25 units to date, with a low of 27 completed units and a high of 61 completed units. Students who attend colleges on a quarter system on average must complete a total of 180 units in order to graduate; thus in order to be considered “on-track” to graduate for the purpose of this research study students must have completed a minimum of  36 units. Three of the eight students attend a four-year college on the quarter system, and all three report they have completed at least 36 units, with a low of 55 completed units and a high of 74.5 completed units. The one student attending a private out of state school reports that 16 units are needed to graduate, she has completed 4 units to date and is thus on track to graduate in four years.

 As indicated by the data and the table above, all eight students (100%) are on track unit wise to graduate in four years. Of the eight, only one student is not currently meeting the minimum 2.0 GPA needed to graduate from college; thus 87.5% of the PLHS AVID student participants are on track to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in five years or less.

QUALITATIVE SURVEY DATA

            In the final section of the AVID Student Survey, students were asked a total of nine open-ended response questions regarding their experiences in AVID, how AVID has impacted their academic performance in college, and what changes they would like to see take place within the AVID program.

1. What skills did you learn in AVID?

 Note-taking, organization, time-management, writing, public speaking, and critical thinking skills were the most common responses. Additional singular responses of note include how to be detail-oriented and efficient, effective academic discipline, teacher communication skills and determination skills.

            2. Were any of the skills you learned in AVID helpful during your first year of college? Please explain your answer.

Every student but one said that the skills they learned in AVID were helpful. Collectively, students reported that the most helpful skills they learned were how to be organized and detail-oriented, time management, note-taking, writing, and public speaking. One student wrote that one of the best skills/lessons learned in AVID was doing things before they are due; another wrote about how even though she has always been uncomfortable speaking in front of others, the first time she had to do it in college was surprisingly easy, and another student said, “AVID helped me grow into the hardworking and dedicated person I am today.” The one student who wrote that the skills she learned in AVID were “not exactly” helpful explained that she had to ask her professors for help with how to take better science notes; no other reasoning was given.

3. Do you feel like you were well-prepared for your first year of college? Please explain your answer.

Six out of eight students felt they were either very prepared, well-prepared, or more-than prepared for college because of AVID. One student responded with “you can never be too prepared” and felt as though she had to rely on herself to learn material not taught by her professors. One student felt she was “not at all prepared” and cited the academic level difference between high and college for the reasoning; she added that she felt as though she missed “fundamental concepts” in high school that she needed to master before starting college.

            4. How do you think AVID contributed to your academic performance during your first year of college?

Six student responses to this question generated two major themes: first, that AVID contributed to students’ academic performance because they were taught and expected to challenge themselves academically in high school via taking advanced, honors, AP and dual-enrollment courses (rigorous curriculum); and second by the skills students learned in AVID such as organization, time-management, and note-taking skills. One student reported that even though she was taught all the skills she needed to succeed in college, she did not apply them thus AVID contributed “very little” to her academic performance; and another student wrote that AVID helped her “qualify, apply, finance, and enroll” in the college of her choice.

            5. Besides AVID, what additional factors do you believe contributed to your academic performance during your first year of college?

Answers to this question varied from student to student; however there was a theme of self-reliance/motivation that emerged as a contributing factor. The first student reported that attending class discussions and office hours even if they are not required contributed; the second said that being independent and attending tutoring contributed; the third said never giving up and challenging himself; the fourth said that her high school teacher Ms. Larsen, her AP English Lit. class, and her dual-enrollment experience her junior year contributed; the fifth student answered note-taking and organization; the sixth student wrote about his dad’s addiction to drugs and how that served as a motivation to succeed; the seventh students wrote that her college professors gave her the best advice; and the eighth student wrote about her self-motivation to push herself to complete work even when it was not required.

            6. How do you think AVID could have better prepared your for your first year of college?

A few students wrote that more writing, especially how to write at the college level is needed. Another student didn’t feel prepared for “all the things that were going to be thrown at us”, but didn’t explain what she meant. Another student wrote that different methods of note-taking, not just Cornell notes, should be taught and also pointed out that her professors did not want to calculate her grades for her and she would have liked to have been taught how to do that. Two other students wrote that they couldn’t have asked for more, “AVID can only do so much.”

            7. What do you wish you would have done and/or learned during your time in AVID?

Half of the students wished they had applied for more scholarships. One student wished she learned how to not let personal problems interfere with school because she said she had to learn the hard way. Another student wished he put more effort into his SATs and ACTs. Other responses included how to filter notes and study for tests, more public speaking practice, and one student said she felt she learned what was most important in order to be fully prepared for college.

            8. What advice do you have for current and future AVID students?

The most common responses include: focus and set goals now, keep your priorities straight, get involved because good grades don’t guarantee anything, never give up or quit working for what you want, take advantage of every opportunity and all help offered, don’t take AVID for granted, take University Now (dual-enrollment program), and remember that “nothing is impossible”.

9. What advice do you have for current and future AVID teachers?

Students had a variety of responses however a majority advised that teachers continue to challenge, motivate, encourage, and love their AVID students no matter what. Students also wrote that continuously giving good advice about the future is important as well as teaching students to turn their work in on time, “in college there’s a deadline and there are no exceptions.” Students also suggested focusing more on scholarships, SATs, and skills and less on the “tedious aspects of the class”. One student suggested talking more about the importance of college and having more guest speakers to inspire students.

DISCUSSION

            Based on the data collected using high school transcripts and student survey responses, seven out of eight, 87.5%, of PLHS AVID students are on track to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in five years or less which is significantly higher than findings in a research study completed by Watt, Huerta Alkan (2011) that measured college success amongst AVID students at HSIU, where 60% of AVID graduates were on track to graduate in six years or less. 

In addition, the components of the AVID program that students most often reported as contributing to their first year college success included two major themes: first, that AVID contributed to students’ academic performance because they were taught and expected to challenge themselves academically in high school via taking advanced, honors, AP and dual-enrollment courses (rigorous curriculum); and second by the skills students learned in AVID such as organization, time-management, and note-taking skills. As a result, a majority of AVID students felt well-prepared for their first year of college; which is reflected in their unit completion and college GPAs. The one student who is currently not on track to graduate in five or fewer years due to her 1.95 college GPA cited personal issues, not a lack of academic preparedness, as the sole contributor to her academic performance in college. Despite the setback, she is positive that she will be back on track next year.

LIMITATIONS

            Though I believe that the research study was a success, there were some limitations that impacted the results. The major limitation is the small sample size. Even though sixteen students were eligible to participate in the research study, only eight fully participated. As a result it is difficult to estimate what kind of results the study might have generated had all sixteen students participated. An additional limitation which could not be controlled by the researcher was student responses to open-ended questions. Although the researcher has no reason to believe that students were not completely honest in their responses, there is no possible way to insure the integrity of their answers. A final limitation is the absence of a follow-up interview upon survey completion for the purpose of further questioning and clarification. When reviewing the qualitative data it would have been helpful if the researcher could make notes and ask additional clarifying questions when student responses were vague and/or unclear.

V.        DISCUSSION

The purpose of this research study was to fill a void in research regarding what happens to AVID students academically once they graduate from high school and enter the world of college. This study was conducted using students from the Point Loma High School AVID class of 2011 in order to determine how their participation in the AVID program impacted their academic success during their first year of college.

CONCLUSIONS

            The conclusions of the study were substantial. Overall, students were found to be academically prepared for college and on track to graduate in five years or less. In addition, several key components of the AVID program were found to be helpful in attaining academic success, however two major themes emerged from students survey responses: first, that AVID contributed to students’ academic performance because they were taught and expected to challenge themselves academically in high school via taking advanced, honors, AP and dual-enrollment courses (rigorous curriculum); and second by the skills students learned in AVID such as organization, time-management, and note-taking skills.

            Based on the data analysis, the research questions were clearly answered. PLHS AVID students are academically prepared for the rigors of college and they are on track to graduate college. Yet there is always more preparation that can be done before students move on to college in order to better prepare them for the hard work that lies ahead. Students made numerous suggestions on how to improve what is learned in AVID in order to better prepare future AVID students. It is my intention to utilize their valuable and insightful advice in order to strengthen and improve upon the PLHS AVID program.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE

            As a current AVID Coordinator and 11th and 12th grade AVID teacher, the implications of this research study in addition to the other research data I compiled have allowed me to glean what I can do to improve upon a well as reinforce while teaching my AVID classes and guiding the other elective teacher and AVID Site Team members.

In addition, I learned that I have been doing students a great service by advocating access to advanced, honors, AP, and dual enrollment courses while encouraging students to take every challenging class they can. It has long been my position that I would rather students struggle with support in the most challenging classes in high school even if it means earning a lower grade than take the easiest of classes in order to earn high grades; my intention being that through challenges and supports throughout their four years of high school, students will have learned how to persevere and overcome challenges so they are ready for what college has in store for them. When AVID students are placed in rigorous courses that include advanced, honors, AP/IB, and dual-enrollment courses, they have the tools and support they need to be academically successful, thus meeting four-year college entrance requirements.

This philosophy is also supported by previous research. According to a 2001 research study by Horn & Kojaku that took a closer look at the relationship between high school academic curricula and students’ persistence path through college, it stands to reason that AVID students are provided with the skills and rigorous course experience they need to be successful once entering college as well. Horn & Kojaku (2001) concluded that even though students from low-income families whose parents did not obtain an education higher than high school, and students who attended a high school where a significant proportion of the students receive free/reduced lunch were all less likely to have completed a rigorous academic high school curriculum in comparison to their more advantaged peers; however socio-economically disadvantaged (low-income/first-generation) students can overcome such disadvantages by completing a rigorous high school academic curriculum.

I prefer to set the bar high for my students, encouraging them to reach for what they have thought and often have previously been taught is unreachable. I have seen that when encouraged and supported, students can accomplish just about anything they set their minds to; and as a future school counselor this philosophy will be carried with me.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

            Although I believe that this research study was successful in that I was able to thoroughly answer my original research questions, there is a great deal of room for improvement and expansion for future research. One of the major limitations of this study was the small sample size which makes it is difficult to estimate what kind of results the study might have generated had all sixteen AVID students in the class of 2011 participated; also making it impossible to generalize the results. Future research should include multiple graduating classes with larger graduating groups. In order to ensure that all or almost all students participate after completing their first year of college, AVID teachers should lay the ground work for student surveys and maintain close contact with students both during senior year and freshman year in college. If students are able to experience the value of what previous graduates have advised, they are more likely to participate in the future. Additionally, more students may have participated if they had more time to complete the survey as well as more reminders. Every student I contacted said they would do the survey, however only eight actually finished it by the deadline. I would like to ask students what I could have done differently to get more participation.

An additional limitation which I could not control was student responses to open-ended questions which were vague and unclear at times. As a result, a follow-up interview upon survey completion for the purpose of further questioning and clarification would have been extremely helpful. During the interview process I could have made notes and asked additional clarifying questions when student survey responses were vague and/or unclear.

FINAL THOUGHTS

With schools experiencing severe budget cuts with special programs like AVID on the chopping block, it behooves teachers, counselors, and administrators to do whatever it takes to make sure that programs like AVID remain at school sites, especially in high schools.

There is compelling research data regarding first-generation college students who are traditionally at a significant disadvantage in gaining access to higher education that shows that first-generation students did not perform as well as their peers during not only the first year of college, but throughout their entire undergraduate enrollment (Chen 2005). Furthermore, Chen (2005) found that first-generation status was negatively associated with lower bachelor’s degree completion rates; however students who earned higher grades and more credits during their first year of college and repeated and withdrew from fewer classes, including first-generation students,  had a better chance of “persisting” and attaining a bachelor’s degree.

However, Mediola, Watt & Huerta (2010) found that pre-college preparation programs, such as AVID, help prepare low-income, minority, and first-generation students for the rigors of college. In addition, research by Watt, Huerta & Alkan (2011) indicated that AVID students showed a greater college retention rate than their non-AVID peers; students who take advantage and participate in college-preparation activities in high school such as AVID and dual-enrollment are predictors of college success; and certain components of the AVID program such as Cornell-notes and AVID’s family-like support system provide the tools and motivation students need in order to achieve their academic goals.

The impact that AVID has on the lives of its students has been empirically proven, the data speaks for itself; however getting kids to college is just not enough anymore, we must prepare them for what it takes to stay in college and graduate in a timely matter. Every high school with an AVID program should research what happens to AVID students once they enter college. Are they truly academically prepared? Are they on track to graduate? Are they using the tools they were taught in AVID? Was AVID helpful? What could AVID have done differently in order to better prepare them? The answers to these questions will not only elevate AVID programs at the high school level, they will provide empirical data that shows that AVID not only helps students get into college, it helps them stay and graduate as well.

References

Adelman, C. (1999). Answers in the Tool Box: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and 

Bachelor’s Degree Attainment. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Retrieved June 15, 2012 from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/Toolbox/index.html.

Adelman, C. (2006). The Tool Box Revisted: Academic Intensity, Paths to Degree Completion 

From High School Through College. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. Retrieved June 15, 2012 from 

http://find.ed.gov/search?q=answers+in+the+toolbox&client=default_frontend&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=default_frontend&sa.x=0&sa.y=0.

AVID Center. (2012). Retrieved June 21, 2012 from www.avidonline.org. 

Chen, X. (2005). First Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at their College 

Transcripts (NCES 2005-171). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved June 15, 2012 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005171.pdf.

Horn. L.J. & Kojaku, (2001). L.K. High School Academic Curriculum and the Persistence Path Through 

College: Persistence and Transfer Behavior of Undergraduates 3 Years After Entering 4-Year Institutions (NCES 2001-163). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved June 15, 2012 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2001/2001163.pdf.

Mendiola, I., Watt, K. M., & Huerta, J. (2010). The Impact of Advancement via Individual 

Determination (AVID) on Mexican American Students Enrolled in a 4-Year University. Journal Of Hispanic Higher Education, 9(3), 209-220. Retrieved from ERIC. 

Raphael, J. & Kushman, J.(2009). Predicating Postsecondary Success. Principal’s Research 

Review, 4(3), 1-7. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Shaughnessy, M. (2005). An Interview with Mary Catherine Swanson: About (AVID) 

Advancement Via Individual Determination. EducationNews.org. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Swanson, M. (1989). Advancement via Individual Determination: Project AVID. Educational 

Leadership, 46(5), 63-64. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier.

Warburton, E.C.,  Bugarin, R. & Nunez, A.-M. (2001). Bridging the Gap: Academic 

Preparation and Postsecondary Success of First-Generation Students (NCES 2001-153). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved June 15, 2012 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2001/2001153.pdf.

Watt, K., Huerta, J., & Alkan, E. (2011). Identifying Predictors of College Success Through an 

Examination of AVID Graduates’ College Preparatory Achievements. Journal Of Hispanic Higher Education, 10(2), 120-133. Retrieved from E-Journals.

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dentify five factors that would influence your determination of the preliminary figure for overall materiality for the 2017 audit of DIPL.

HI6026 Audit, Assurance and Compliance TRIMESTER 3, 2017 INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT 1

HI6026 Audit, Assurance and Compliance TRIMESTER 3, 2017 INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT 1

Assessment Value: 20%

Instructions:

• This assignment is to be submitted in accordance with assessment policy stated in the Subject Outline and Student Handbook.

• It is the responsibility of the student who is submitting the work, to ensure that the work is in fact her/his own work. Incorporating another’s work or ideas into one’s own work without appropriate acknowledgement is an academic offence. Students should submit all assignments for plagiarism checking on Blackboard before final submission in the subject. For further details, please refer to the Subject Outline and Student Handbook.

• Answer all questions.

• Maximum marks available: 20 marks.

• Due date of submission: Week 6, Friday at 5.00 p.m.

Case Study on Double Ink Printers Ltd (DIPL)

Background Information

You are a senior manager with Stewart and Kathy and you have been approached to undertake the audit of Double Ink Printers Ltd (DIPL). 2017DIPL print books, magazines and advertising materials for the publishing, educational and advertising industries on a print-ondemand basis. Printing on demand means that publishers can print the exact quantities ordered by retail outlets, rather than estimating in advance how many books are required and often printing too few or too many. The average printing turnaround time for DIPL is two business days for small orders and five to ten business days for large orders. In addition, five years ago, DIPL further expanded its earnings base by having publisher’s titles available as searchable ‘e-books’ that could be downloaded directly by readers from DIPL’s website.

Purchase and Inventory

DIPL purchases 50% of its inventory requirements of paper, ink and binding materials from Australian sources and 50% from Asian countries. When inventory received at DIPL’s warehouse (whether it is purchased from Australia or Asia), the accounts payable clerk, Bill Jimmy, records the arrival of the inventory and also its value and quantity in the accounts payable system. Inventory is paid for the relevant currency of the country from which it is purchased. Raw materials have been valued at average cost and an allowance for inventory obsolescence has existed in previous years to cover the estimated decline in value from the effects of storage hazards. Work in progress is immaterial due to the quick turn- around time of printing jobs. Any work in progress is assessed at the cost of raw materials and labour and proportion of manufacturing overheads based on normal capacity. At year end, the warehouse is closed from 28 to 30 June for stocktake, so sales must be invoiced in the system by close of business on 27 June. The stock must have been sent to the customer (that is, it must either be on track, ship or plane on its way to the customer, or it must already have arrived at the customer; it must no longer be in DIPL’s warehouse).

‘Print on Demand’ revenue and receivables

Each time a publisher wants to add a book to DIPL’s ‘digital library’ (a server storing all of the publisher’s books in a digital format, ready to print), it emails the book to DIPL in PDF format. The digital library is backed up at the close of business every day, with the backup tapes kept off site. Once the book is stored in the digital library, the publishers can order copies to be printed as required.

When the publishers confirm the order, the accounting system automatically retrieves details of the publisher’s credit record and stops any orders from publishers that have exceeded their credit terms and limits. A printout of the transactions history of the publishers is generated and must be signed by both Helena Keng, the head of publishing, and Jane Roger, the head of accounts at DIPL, before the order can continue, after the transaction history has been signed and dated, accounts receivable staff file it.

If there are no credit problems with the order, it is processed and printed by casual staff in the relevant warehouse, who then load the books onto pallets for shipping. When printing is finished, the sales clerk, Brown Pall, prepares an invoice and dispatch docket and forwards them to the accounts receivable department. The accounts receivable clerk Gay Chan, checks the prices and arithmetic accuracy of the invoices and signs the invoice as evidence of her check. Gay records the sales both the accounts receivables subsidiary ledger and the general ledger and books are shipped to the publisher’s nominated destination (or the publisher will arrange pick up at the warehouse if has its own distributors). The client accepts liability for the goods when they are received in accordance with the purchase order, and signs the dispatch docket as proof of delivery.

‘E-book’ Revenue

The proceeds from each e-book sale are paid to the publisher’s net of a 5% commission. Proceeds are sent to publishers automatically upon download (the commission is withheld by DIPL). Revenue from the commission is recognised when is withheld from payment to the publishers.

DIPL also charge publishers an annual “storage fee” payable 12 months in advance, for keeping the e-book on DIPL’s website. Publishers are invoiced on the date the first download of a title occurs. As new books are downloaded on an ongoing basis, the storage fee is invoiced at different times of the year. Revenue from storage fees has been recognised in the month the fees are invoiced, notwithstanding the fact that the fees are charged 12 months in advance.

In September 2016, DIPL acquired Nuclear Publishing Ltd (NPL). The main rationale behind the lay in the value of the copyright NPL held over a large range of specialised medical textbooks. Although the potential print run for the textbook was not large, each textbook had a high profit margin and had been used in universities across the world for many years. DIPL acquired the business operation of NPL (not the shares), paying net assets (including the right to the copyright). However, in June 2017 an article was published in a medical journal about a new theory that could result in NPL’s medical textbooks becoming obsolete. If the new theory is valid, the textbooks are unlikely to be reprinted or used as textbooks at universities in the future, effectively making them unviable as e-books.

Cash Receipts

Some Payments from accounts receivables are received by cheque through the mail, and the cashier, Judy Bones, record these in an inwards remittance register when the mail is opened. She then banks the cheques and forwards the payment advices to Gay Chan for posting ton the accounts receivable ledger. Most payments, however, are received by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Each day, Judy downloaded the previous day’s receipts from online banking and provides a copy to Gary for posting. Judy then reconciles the total of the batch postings to accounts receivable to the amount banked for the day. The assistant accountant, Bobby Fong, prepares a bank reconciliation at the end of each month.

Fixed Assets

Since DIPL’s incorporation, depreciation on assets has been calculated using the straight-line method to allocate their cost over their estimated useful lives, as follows:

• Printing presses up to 20 years

• Other production equipment up to 15 years • Other equipment up to 10 years

Finance

During 2017, DIPL has entered into a 7.5 million loan from BDO Finance Ltd (BDO Finance). The loan has debt covenant’s requiring DIPL to maintain a current ratio of at least 1.5 and a debt to equity ratio of less than 1. Failure to maintain these key financial ratios under the specified benchmarks would result in BDO Finance having the right to recall the loan.

Appointment of New CEO and internal Audit

William Jackson was appointed the new chief executive officer (CEO) of DIPL in January 2017. William has extensive experience in the printing business. The previous CEO, Rebecca Styles, who is now semi- retired, will remain on the board as a non-executive director. A component of William’s remuneration package is a performance bonus based DIPL achieving an annual growth of 10% in total revenue and 10% in net profit after tax. Based on William’s recommendation, the board also established a new internal audit department headed up by Cody Baines, an ex-audit manager with a Big Four audit firm and two other recently qualified chartered accountants. Cody reports directly to the board.

New IT System

During 2017, DIPL decided to invest in a new IT system that would fully computerised and integrate all the current accounting processes across the organisation, including integration into the general ledger system.

Under extreme pressure from the board, the IT department at DIPL managed to get the new accounting system installed in June, although IT manager, Andy Law, complained several times about how the installation was handled. Andy claimed that excess pressure had been placed on staff to get the system installed and that there was simply not enough staff to do the proper reconciliation’s and testing before the new system went live prior to year-end.

Andy preliminary testing showed that some transactions conducted around year-end were not being allocated to the correct period. The problem appeared to be the interface between the new accounting system and one of the existing software systems. A software ‘patch’ had to be written to fix the problem.

Board year-end reporting discussions

As a board meeting held in June 2017, issues relating to the forthcoming year end were discussed. William stated that he believed that the valuation of raw materials inventories at average cost was no longer appropriate as the current cost of paper was substantially above the average cost. Further, he argued that the allowance for obsolescence of inventory to cover the estimated decline in value from the effects of storage hazards was necessary, as such a loss was unlikely. William also stated that based on his experience in the printing industry he believed that DIPL’s printing presses had a potential maximum life of 30 years, although he noted that another leading entity in the printing industry adopted the policy of depreciating its printing presses over a 20-year period on a straight-line basis, similar to what DIPL had done in the past. After much discussion, the board resolved that the allowance for obsolescence of inventory be written back and that raw materials be valued based on a firstin, first-out (FIFO) basis. In addition, following a review of the e-book facilities by internal audit, Cody recommended that in a report to the board that DIPL change the method it used to account for its revenue from e-book publication to ensure compliance with the applicable accounting standard. The board agreed that the revenue from e-book would be recognised in accordance with the stage of completion of each transaction (i.e. percentage of completion method).

Double Ink Printers Ltd

Statement of Financial Position

Note 2015 2016 2017

(Unadjusted)

Current Assets

Cash 647250 517788 347120

Accounts Receivables 1 2482500 4320000 5073309

Inventories 2 2256188 2671362 4180500

Total 5385938 7509150 9600929

Non-Current Assets

Property, Plant and

Equipment 3 7544062 8394750 15572062

Intangible Assets ——- ——- 975000

7544062 8394750 16547062

Total Assets 12930000 15903900 26147991

Current Liabilities

Accounts Payable 1950000 3035250 3525000

Deferred revenue —- —- 697500

Interest-bearing liabilities 937500 862500 787500

Provisions 810000 1125000 1267500

Accruals 82500 97500 120000

Total 3780000 5120250 6397500

Non-current Liabilities

Interest-bearing liabilities —- —- 7500000

Total Liabilities 3780000 5120250 13897500

Net Assets 9150000 10783650 12250491

Equity

Shareholders Fund 2250000 2250000 2250000

Retained Profits 6900000 8533650 10000491

Total Equity 9150000 10783650 12250491

Double Ink Printers Ltd

Income Statement

2015 2016 2017

Revenues

Revenue from Operations 34212000 37699500 43459500

Cost of Sales 28207500 31620000 36855000

Gross Profit 6004500 6079500 6604500

Allowance for inventory obsolescence written back ——- ——- 155588

Commission Income 108000 123000 130500

E-book storage fees 667500 1027500 1417500

Income from operating activities 6780000 7230000 8308088

Expenses

Advertising 83725 115923 125778

Audit Fees 112500 127500 135000

Bad Debt 150000 195000 210000

Depreciation 249375 274312 472688

Discounts allowed 195000 285000 335500

Legal Fees 74000 111500 137000

Foreign Exchange loss 38500 49750 —-

Rates 98500 106000 113500

Repairs and maintenance 224000 276500 306500

Salaries 1965000 2190000 2445000

Telecommunication costs 134750 141478 159785

Total expenses 3325350 3872963 4440751

Net income before interest and tax 3454650 3357037 3867337

Interest expense 84379 83663 808038

Profit before tax 3370271 3273374 3059299

Income tax 1011081 982012 87116

Profit after tax 2359190 2291362 2972183

Notes to the Financial Report

2015 2016 2017

(Unadjusted)

Account Receivable 2647500 453000 5313309

1 Allowance for doubtful debts -165000 -210000 -240000

2482500 243000 5073309

Inventory 2362500 2797238 4180500

2 Allowance for obsolescence -106312 -125876 ——

2256188 2671362 4180500

3 Property, Plant & Equipment

Land 2775000 3375000 3375000

Plant and Equipment 5250000 5775000 13425000

Accumulated Depreciation -480938 -755250 -1227938

7544062 8394750 15572062

Required:

Question 1:

As part of your planning process, you are considering whether you will need to use the services of an expert in the audit of Double Ink Printers Ltd (DIPL).

Required:

Based on the background information contained in the case, explain whether it will be necessary to use the work of an expert in the audit of DIPL. (5 marks).

Question 2:

You are at the planning stage of the audit of Double Ink Printers Ltd (DIPL) for the year ended 30 June 2017 and have been asked by the audit manager to assists determine the materiality levels.

Required:

(a) Referring to the background information contained in the case, identify five factors that would influence your determination of the preliminary figure for overall materiality for the 2017 audit of DIPL. (5 marks).

(b) Explain why the factors identified in (a) above are relevant to your calculation of the preliminary figure for overall materiality. (5 marks).

(c) Describe how the factors identified in (a) above will influence your preliminary figure for overall materiality in the audit planning process. (5 marks).

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