AYD Background

Students’ visions of themselves as learners can limit their potential . . .

Studies show that the more mathematics courses students take, and the more rigorous those courses are, the more likely students are to succeed in postsecondary education and the contemporary workplace. For too long, however, insufficient resources and a lack of educational equity have limited our vision of students’ potential, in mathematics, in science, and in high school.

But we can reshape those visions . . .

Academic Youth Development (AYD) is a research-based program that reshapes students’ academic identities, enhances their engagement in learning, and transforms their achievement. The Dana Center developed the AYD program collaboratively with psychologists, teachers, school district leaders, and the staff of Agile Mind, piloting and refining the program in a diverse array of districts.

The Learning and the Adolescent Mind website shares with parents and educators the most compelling knowledge about student learning and success.

AYD encompasses established and emerging research on student motivation, effort, and learning—as well as powerful knowledge on the malleability of intelligence—and is designed to increase the number and diversity of students who persist and succeed in STEM courses and in high school. Participating teachers and students enact the engaging online- and offline-program curriculum in a classroom setting.

AYD gives students and teachers a set of explicit tools and strategies for applying new ideas in daily learning. Student learning is enhanced through rich instructional materials, including interactive animations that deepen understanding of key concepts, and problem-solving experiences in which learners solidify their understanding of the youth development ideas and develop the skills of academically successful students, such as the ability to productively persist in challenging tasks.

To enable the broadest possible participation, the AYD program has two forms: Summer-Start AYD and School-Year AYD.

More about the AYD research base:

  • Reference list includes 15 citations of academic research informing Academic Youth Development. (pdf 100kb)
  • Annotated bibliography contains short descriptions for 7 of the articles cited in the reference list. (pdf 144kb)