Accelerated Learning Options in High School


Competency-Based Credit

The Kentucky State Board of Education states that districts must develop a policy to award performance-based credits, ensuring that the experiences for which credits are awarded align with the Kentucky Academic Standards. Examples include senior year or capstone projects and work-based learning (e.g., internships, apprenticeships, cooperative learning experiences, and credit recovery).

Career and Technical Education

Kentucky has adopted the National Career Clusters Framework. Students enrolled in CTE courses may take the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment after completing two credits as well as the ACT WorkKeys upon enrolling in a third CTE credit in an approved career pathway. State law allows for the substitution of career-technical courses for specific graduation course requirements.

Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

Dual credit allows students to take college-level courses and earn high school and college credit concurrently. Public colleges and universities partner with a district to provide dual credit opportunities which may be provided at the student’s high school, on a college campus, or virtually.  When students take courses taught at an approved postsecondary institution during the regular school day, they are said to be concurrently enrolled as defined by the National Alliance of concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.

Kentucky requires that all high school students have access to a minimum of three general education and three career and technical education courses throughout their secondary career. To be eligible for enrollment, students must meet the postsecondary institution’s requirements for admission into the program and placement requirements for its college-level courses.

Cost for dual credit/concurrent enrollment varies based on the district-institution agreement. Students and their parents must receive a written statement explaining tuition and fees. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority administers support for dual credit scholarships.

Dual enrollment allows students to earn college credit at a postsecondary institution.

Although most Kentucky high school students pursue dual credit/concurrent enrollment options through open enrollment in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, students also may pursue college credit online through the Kentucky Virtual University or in the classroom through state and private universities, if they fulfill institutional admissions requirements.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

Kentucky offers over 30 college-level Advanced Placement courses as well as three International Baccalaureate programs to high school students. AP-enrolled high school students may be awarded college credit for a course based on their numerical scores on EOCs. During the 2016-2107 school year, the Kentucky Department of Education will pay AP and IB exam fees for students enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program.

Early College High Schools

Also referred to as Middle Colleges, Early Colleges are high schools located on college campuses that allow students to take courses for both high school and college credit.

Early High School Graduation

Students in grades 9-11 may pursue an early graduation pathway through which they may qualify to receive a diploma and be eligible for acceptance into any public university or nonprofit, independent college or university in Kentucky. To qualify, the student must do the following:

  • Document their intent to graduate early
  • Enter an early graduation pathway prior to October 1 of their intended graduation year
  • Graduate in three years or less
  • Score proficient on all required end-of-course exams
  • Meet the state’s college readiness ACT benchmarks

An Early Graduation Certificate provides some financial support for students to attend college immediately after early graduation.