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Advanced Placement: State Mandates AP Course Offerings

Advanced Placement (AP), first established in 1955 as a program for gifted students, has seen tremendous growth since the 1990s. This database provides information on state policies and programs to support AP offerings in the states.

State mandates AP course offerings: This indicates whether state policy requires all high schools in a state to offer one or more AP courses. AP courses are often less plentiful in low-income and high-minority schools and districts. Requiring all high schools to offer a minimum number of AP courses helps ensure greater equality of AP course availability between higher-income and lower-income schools. Currently, only three states -- Arkansas, Indiana and South Carolina -- mandate that all high schools offer AP courses. West Virginia, which currently requires all districts (but not all high schools) to offer AP courses, will require all high schools to offer at least four AP courses or the IB program, effective with the 2008-2009 school year. Mississippi will require all districts (but not all high schools within a district) to offer AP courses, effective with the 2007-2008 school year.

This information was collected from statutes and state board regulations from April to August 2006, and will be updated as new policies are enacted.

Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or

State mandates AP course offerings
Arkansas Yes. Beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, all high schools must offer at least 4 AP courses, adding at least 1 core course each year. In addition, beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, all districts must offer 1 AP course in each of 4 areas: English, math, science and social studies. These offerings must be phased in over a 4-year period beginning in the 2005-2006 school year. Unlike districts, however, high schools are not required to offer courses in specific subject areas.

Districts must also offer pre-AP courses. "In order to prepare students for the rigor inherent in AP courses, it is recommended to begin with the 2004-2005 school year by offering Pre-AP courses to prepare students for the demands of AP coursework. Aligned with the four (4) required AP courses, the Pre-AP courses will be fully operational by the 2008-2009 school year." A district pre-AP program must follow a clearly recognizable sequence, i.e., 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th grade pre-AP English, 11th grade AP English Language and Composition, 12th grade English Literature and Composition.

Statute exempts any high school offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program from the requirement to offer AP and pre-AP courses. However, in practice in the state, high schools offering IB are also expected to meet the AP offering mandates of non-IB high schools.
Idaho No, although effective with the 2007-2008 school year, all high schools must either offer "advanced opportunities," (defined as AP courses, dual credit courses, Tech Prep, or IB programs), "or provide opportunities for students to take courses at the postsecondary campus."
Illinois No. However, the state board must "encourage" districts to offer rigorous courses in grades 6-11 to prepare students for AP coursework. In addition, 2005 legislation directs the state board to "seek federal funding through the Advanced Placement Incentive Program and the Math-Science Partnership Program ... and to support the implementation of an integrated instructional program for students in grades 6 through 12 in reading, writing, and mathematics that prepares all students for enrollment and success in Advanced Placement courses and in college."
Indiana Yes. Each high school must provide at least two AP courses to qualified students. In addition, each district must provide science and math AP courses.
Kentucky No, although each high school is mandated to "offer a core curriculum of advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, or dual credit courses, using either or both on-site instruction or electronic instruction through the Kentucky Virtual High School or other on-line alternatives."
Mississippi Yes. Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, all public high schools must offer at least 1 AP course in each of the core areas of English, math, science and social studies. Statute notes, however, that use of the state's online "Advanced Placement Instructional Program is an appropriate alternative for the delivery of" AP courses. A public high school offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is exempt from this requirement.

In addition, all districts may offer pre-AP courses.
Ohio No. However, all districts are required to offer at least one "dual enrollment" program, which may include Advanced Placement courses, the postsecondary enrollment options program, or "any similar program established pursuant to an agreement between" a district and an institution of higher education.
Oregon No, although all districts must offer the Expanded Options Program, which provides opportunities for 11th- and 12th-graders to earn postsecondary credit through dual credit technical preparation programs, such as two-plus-two programs, AP and International Baccalaureate.
South Carolina Yes, although contingent on school size. "Each school district shall provide advanced placement courses in all secondary schools of the district which enroll an adequate number of academically talented students to support the course." The state board is mandated to determine what constitutes an adequate number of students for an AP course. However, state board policy indicates, "All secondary schools whose organizational structure includes grade 11 or 12 shall offer an Advanced Placement course(s)."
Tennessee No. However, if a district offers AP courses, it must annually approve a list of AP courses and must "ensure that approved courses substantially incorporate the learning objectives and course descriptions as defined by the College Board[.]"
Vermont No. State does not require AP in all high schools but does require high schools to offer students the opportunity to take advanced course work such as college level courses and AP.
Virginia No, although all schools must provide either three AP courses, dual enrollment courses, International Baccalaureate courses, Cambridge courses, or any combination thereof.
West Virginia No, although all districts must offer AP courses. Effective with the 2008-2009 school year, all high schools must offer a minimum of four AP courses or the International Baccalaureate program.

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