Accelerated Learning Options in High School


Competency-Based Credit

The Texas Education Code §28.023 allows high school students to receive course credit through the successful completion of Credit-by-Examination assessments which are approved by each local board of trustees. Each local board is required to approve at least four CBEs to include AP and CLEP exams which may be locally developed or purchased.

Career and Technical Education

Texas’ new CTE standards will become effective beginning with the 2017-2018 school year following recent adoption of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards. CTE standards are aligned with the 16 National Career Clusters.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

The Texas Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Incentive Program (AP/IB) provides testing fee subsidies to students with demonstrated financial need. The Texas Education Agency provides $30 for each AP and IB exam taken, while the U.S. Department of Education contributes an additional $16 and $65 for AP and IB exams respectively. College Board AP/IB courses may be substituted for required courses or qualify as electives.

Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

Texas Education Code §28.009 requires school districts to implement dual credit programs that allow students to earn the equivalent of 12 semester credit hours of college credit through dual enrollment (credit in both high school and college) or other mechanisms (e.g., AP, IB, advanced technical credit courses, and articulated credit). High schools and postsecondary institutions enter into articulation agreements which govern, among other things, credit transfer agreements and college placement test requirements.

To be eligible, high school students must meet certain minimum requirements. Typically, students may enroll in college courses after the sophomore year of high school. Any student enrolling in a dual credit course must meet a minimum score on one of various standardized tests, including the Act and SAT. Other requirements vary depending on whether the student is enrolling in academic or workforce education courses, and on the postsecondary institution in which the student is enrolling. Students who have scored high enough on certain standardized tests, including the ACT and SAT, are not required to take the state-mandated assessment to qualify for concurrent or dual enrollment. Students may take college-level courses related to the parts of the qualifying assessment(s) that they have passed. The state requires students and their families to pay for dual credit courses, unless the college waives or reduces tuition or the high school pays all or part of the cost.

Concurrent enrollment allows students to enroll in a postsecondary institution while completing high school. Students do not receive high school credit for college courses taken in this instance.

Early College High Schools

Students attending early college high schools (ECHS) may complete their high school diploma through the Recommended High School Program or the Distinguished Achievement Program and up to 60 college credits. In some cases, high school graduates receive a diploma and an associate degree. School districts are required to pay any related tuition, fees and textbook costs beyond those waived by the IHE.

Early High School Graduation

House Bill 3 (2009) created the Early Readiness High School Graduation Option pilot program. Districts partner with research universities to create an alternative route to a high school diploma. Eligible students attend a high school in a district with a partnership agreement and meet proficiency requirements on AP, IB, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), SAT, and ACT tests.