Advanced Placement

Student group

Advanced Placement (AP) is a program created by the College Board. It offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. AP exam scores of 3, 4, or 5 may be used by colleges to grant course credit or placement. Exams are offered in 36 subjects.

Advanced Placement scores for Austin ISD students who took the exams in May 2018 resulted in 62.8% receiving a qualified score of 3, 4, or 5, a 2.3% increase in performance from the previous year. This exceeds the state of Texas’ performance of 51.6% and the global performance of 61.3%. Additionally, 72% of the eighth grade students participating in the middle school Dual Language program who took the AP Spanish Language exam received a qualified score of 3 or higher. Students who attend a public college or university in Texas are eligible to receive college credit for these qualifying scores.

Austin ISD AP Exam Performance for 2014-2018 showing increase from 55.3% to 62.8%
Fig.1 - College Board Advanced Placement Exams, Grades 8-12 with Scores of 3, 4 or 5 (2014-2018)


Pre-AP and AP courses are available to all students in all Austin ISD middle and high schools. Course offerings vary from campus to campus based on course demand.


The Advanced Placement program is a sequence of college-level courses taught in high schools by high school teachers with specialized training.

  • Offered at all Austin ISD high schools
  • 33 courses offered
  • Typically grades 11-12, offered district-wide
  • Academically rigorous
  • Weighted GPA
  • College Board monitored and authorized curriculum
  • Potential college credit based on student's performance on exam

The AP Credit and Placement College and University Search at allows colleges and universities to be looked up for review of their AP policies. Each college and university determines their own policy. These policies fluctuate based on the specific major and specific AP courses as well as whether an acceptable exam score is to be used for credit and/or placement in a sequence of courses. However, in Texas, public colleges and universities must provide credit for a score of 3 or higher on any exam.The value of AP courses and AP exam scores beyond receiving credit for coursework includes the admissions process, particularly in a competitive school.

The Pre-AP program in Austin ISD is a level of challenging courses designed to teach students strong study skill and learning strategies. These courses build on the strengths of students and prepare them to experience success in Advanced Placement and other advanced academic courses.

  • Typically grades 6-10, offered district-wide
  • Teachers receive specialized training
  • Academically challenging
  • Emphasis is on critical thinking, reading, research, writing, and as appropriate, advanced performance expectations

Students are encouraged to take Pre-AP courses prior to enrolling in AP courses. The strategies and skills students learn in Pre-AP courses help them acquire content knowledge, provide a foundation for college readiness, and prepare them for success in Advanced Placement courses.