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High School Elective Credit


All new high school courses, including new elective courses, will be submitted for approval according to the procedures outlined in the directive titled Course Proposal Planning and Review.

Each school must develop a process to notify students who enroll in an elective course which is unique to a school that it may not be possible to receive credit for the course unless the student remains at the school until the course has been completed. However, other schools in the District will recognize and accept credit for authorized courses once credit has been earned and placed on the student transcript.

New Elective Courses

New elective courses must meet the following criteria to be approved by the District:

Contact time. All authorized courses shall provide 75 clock hours ( or 90 fifty-minute sessions) of instructional time per half credit. Classes with 60 to 75 clock hours of instructional time may be approved for a half credit if it can be demonstrated that course objectives equivalent to a semester’s work can be met in fewer hours. More than 75 hours may be required for some courses if student work is completed outside the classroom setting and direct instruction is interspersed with student practice or experiential learning.

The Superintendent may waive contact time requirements for a course if satisfactory alternative means for demonstrating student achievement of objectives equivalent to a standard unit of instruction can be provided.

Academic Value. All authorized courses must include instruction of academic value to students who elect to take the course. Proposed new courses must include a rationale which states the nature of the academic value to students.

Stated Competencies. Course descriptions will be developed for each elective course authorized by the District. Course descriptions will include stated competencies and a means for assessing student progress. Final examinations will include a demonstration of mastery of the stated competencies.

Evaluation Process. New elective courses will be offered on a trial basis and will be evaluated at the end of three years. Courses which have not attracted enrollment in any school during the third year will be deleted from the District course master. Courses which have been offered and taught will be evaluated for effectiveness before being made a permanent part of the District curriculum.

Licensure. If the competencies for an elective course are not directly derived from the state competencies in a subject field (thereby requiring licensure in that subject field), the appropriate licensure will be specified on the course description.

In the case of a cross-disciplinary course, the teacher must be licensed in one of the subject fields and be declared by the principal to have necessary preparation to teach the course. Courses which draw competencies from a variety of subject fields may be authorized to be taught by any teacher with a secondary license and demonstrated experience or training appropriate to the nature of the course.

Elective Courses. Elective courses not authorized under the Public School Reform Act of 1986 shall be assigned course numbers upon approval and placed in one of four sections of the APS High School Curriculum -- District Essentials and Guidelines:

  1. General electives will include courses not derived from state competencies but from identified needs of students. These courses will be open to any student. Any teacher with a secondary license who can demonstrate proficiency to the satisfaction of the principal may teach a general elective.
  2. Interscholastic Activities and Athletics courses will derive their competencies from the state framework for Interscholastic Education/Activities. Courses will include athletic and non-athletic activity classes that are a part of the regular school curriculum. These courses may be taught by a licensed secondary teacher who can demonstrate qualifications to the satisfaction of the principal. A coaching licensure may also be required.
  3. Interdisciplinary courses will be elective courses which derive their competencies from two or more state frameworks. These courses may be taught by a teacher with licensure in one of the subjects and demonstrated competency to teach the course.
  4. Alternative programs will include elective courses designed for a special population of students with special educational needs (i.e., at-risk students, teen parents). Screening procedures may be required to ascertain student eligibility for the course. Courses offered in this category will be part of a program which must adhere to guidelines established by the District or by state or federal government. If course content is primarily derived from one subject area, licensure in that subject is required. If not, courses may be taught by a licensed secondary teacher who is qualified to teach the courses.

Course descriptions in these categories will be presented to the Board of Education for review annually. At the end of the third year, the course description will be accompanied by an evaluation. If the course was offered and taught at only one school, the school will provide the evaluation. If the course was offered and taught in several schools, the course evaluations provided by each school will be coordinated by the Directors of Teaching and Learning Systems. Acceptance of the course by the Board of Education following the third year of evaluation will constitute approval of the Board to place the course on permanent status in the District.

Cross Ref.:

  • Board Policy I.11
  • Course Proposal Planning and Review directive
  • APS High School Curriculum -- District Essentials and Guidelines

NSBA/NEPN Classification: IKF

Revised: May 1995
: April 1996
: May 1997
: June 2002

This page was last updated on: December 9, 2009.