Fall 2016

AP Course Audit administrators can begin renewing previously authorized courses for the 2016-17 school year.

October 15 is the preferred date by which administrators should renew previously authorized courses to ensure the inclusion of these courses in the AP Course Ledger in November.

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Can schools order and administer AP Exams without completing the AP
Course Audit?

Yes, the AP Course Audit is only required for schools desiring to:

  • use the "AP" designation on students' transcripts
  • be listed in the ledger of authorized AP courses provided each fall to college and university admissions offices and the public.

Schools that simply offer the AP Exam as an opportunity for their students to earn college credit, without actually labeling the school's courses "AP" on students' transcripts do not need to participate in the AP Course Audit, and can continue offering AP Exams to their students.

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Does the College Board recommend a particular size for AP classes?

The College Board recognizes that schools have varying degrees of human and financial resources, which can affect class size. Each individual school should make a decision that best suits its needs.

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Can courses offered in middle school be labeled AP?

The AP designation may only be applied to courses offered at or above the 9th grade level which have received authorization through the annual AP Course Audit process. The AP label cannot be affixed to courses and transcripts prior to 9th grade. There is one exception to this policy: AP world language courses. These courses focus on linguistic proficiency and cultural competency, so in rare situations these courses can be successfully offered earlier than 9th grade among students who can already speak, read, and write the language with fluency. In summary, the AP Course Audit will only renew or authorize courses that are offered exclusively in grades 9–12, with the exception of AP world language programs.

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Will the College Board audit "Pre-AP" courses?

The College Board strongly believes that all students should have access to preparation for AP and other challenging courses, and that Pre-AP teaching strategies should be reflected in all courses taken by students prior to their enrollment in AP. The College Board discourages using "Pre-AP" in the title of a course and on a student’s transcript, because there is no one fixed or mandated Pre-AP curriculum that students must take to prepare for AP and other challenging coursework. Rather than using Pre-AP in course titles, the College Board recommends the adoption of more comprehensive Pre-AP programs that work across grade levels and subject areas to prepare the full diversity of a school’s student population for AP and college.

The College Board’s official Pre-AP program for all middle school and high school students is SpringBoard®, which consists of a full curriculum in mathematics and English language arts. SpringBoard is integrated with professional development and formative assessments, and is based on the College Board’s college readiness standards: the College Board Standards for College Success.

The College Board also provides an array of Pre-AP professional development workshops designed to help teachers instill more rigor in the courses they are teaching students in the years prior to AP.

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Do schools have to complete the audit each year?

The AP Course Audit is an annual process; however, after receiving authorization during any given year, schools will not need to resubmit AP Course Audit forms or syllabi in following years unless the teacher has changed, the school offers a new AP course, or the curricular and resource requirements for a course undergo significant revision by the College Board. Beginning in August of each year, Course Audit administrators can renew their schools' course authorizations for the following year through their AP Course Audit online accounts.

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Why do teachers need to submit the AP Course Audit form and syllabus?

The AP Course Audit is, at heart, a way of achieving a mutual understanding between those leading the course, the AP teachers; their principals; and colleges and universities, who gain access to a ledger of courses authorized to use the "AP" designation. Each school will participate in the audit differently, with some schools or districts, perhaps, using a common syllabus for single subjects and others using syllabi that vary by teacher. In order to ensure that each and every teacher demonstrates their awareness and inclusion of the curricular requirements in their course, we need to require that all teachers submit the same type of materials for review.

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What does authorization actually entail?

Authorization to use the "AP" designation for your course indicates College Board permission to use the designation on students' transcripts, in your school’s course catalog, and/or on your school's website. The course will be listed as an authorized AP course in a ledger available to colleges and universities each fall and made available to the public via the Web.

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What if my AP teacher leaves the school after the AP Course Audit has
been completed?

The replacement teacher must submit the AP Course Audit form and syllabus for review. If a previously approved syllabus will be used in the course, the teacher will need to submit that syllabus for verification purposes. The teacher can streamline the review process by providing the syllabus ID number from the previously approved (available from the principal or AP Coordinator's page on the Course Audit Website) upon submission.

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What role can districts play in the AP Course Audit?

District officials with Course Audit accounts have several resources available to them, such as a direct download of authorized courses for all schools in their district. With these resources, districts can work with their schools' teachers to ensure they understand the AP Course Audit's curricular requirements and timeline. Districts can also help teachers prepare syllabi for submission. To obtain a District Official Course Audit account, please contact the AP Course Audit Helpline by using the "Contact Us" link on the Course Audit homepage or by calling 877-APHELP-0.

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Does the AP Course Audit specify educational background or certification requirements for AP teachers?

No, there are no formal requirements that a teacher must satisfy to teach an AP course. However, the College Board advocates high standards for Advanced Placement teachers in the following areas: content knowledge, teacher certification, pedagogy and student learning, analysis and reflection, and ongoing professional development. Although the College Board recognizes that there is no single path to becoming an effective AP teacher, the educational background and professional development of the teacher can greatly improve the quality of his or her teaching.

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Does the AP Course Audit require teachers to participate in professional development?

No, the AP Course Audit does not mandate a type or amount of teacher professional development. However, the College Board encourages schools to provide funding opportunities for their AP teacher(s) to attend workshops, Summer Institutes, or other professional development activities. The College Board strongly recommends that AP teachers attend a professional development experience in their subject area before teaching the AP course for the first time, and on a periodic basis thereafter. Examples of College Board workshops and independent Summer Institutes endorsed by the College Board are listed on the AP Central events page.

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What is a "hands-on" lab?

A hands-on laboratory experience is one in which students manipulate, observe, explore, and think about science using concrete materials. Hands-on labs must be guided by a science educator. For the purpose of the AP Course Audit, the College Board considers a virtual lab to be an interactive experience during which students observe and manipulate computer-generated objects, data, or phenomena in order to fulfill the learning objectives of a laboratory experience. These objectives include, but are not limited to, generating and exploring answers to experimental questions, drawing and evaluating conclusions, and thinking and communicating effectively about science. For the purpose of the AP Course Audit, the College Board considers computer-based or teacher-led demonstrations neither a virtual nor hands-on laboratory experience in and of themselves, though these elements may enhance the course's primary laboratory component.

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We cover one or more of the AP Course Audit curricular requirements in a course prior to the AP course, rather than in the AP course itself. Can we still receive authorization to use the "AP" designation?

Authorization will be granted on a case-by-case basis. If you cannot attest to inclusion in your course of one or more of the AP Course Audit curricular requirements when you initial the AP Course Audit form, you should indicate that you are meeting the requirement through an alternate approach, and then describe that alternate approach on your syllabus.

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How do we complete the AP Course Audit for a multiyear course, and may we affix the "AP" designation to each year of a multiyear course?

Colleges and universities typically expect that the AP course is taught across no more than one academic year. If you cannot attest to inclusion of all of the AP Course Audit curricular requirements within one academic year when you initial the AP Course Audit form, you will need to submit a syllabus that includes both years' study. This syllabus will need to demonstrate that both years of study are at the college level and that all AP Course Audit curricular requirements are fulfilled across the sequence of courses. Authorization will be granted on a case-by-case basis. If approved, only the year of the course culminating in the AP exam can carry the “AP” label on student transcripts.

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The title we use for the course at our school is slightly different from the official AP name of the course (for example, "Western Civilization" is our title for the course that prepares students for the AP European History Exam). Can we affix the "AP" designation to our own title for the course when we list that course on students' transcripts, etc.?

No, the "AP" designation can only be used in association with the official AP course titles. But you can continue to use your current course title and then insert the official AP course title in brackets either before or after your own course title.

Examples of acceptable and unacceptable course titles:
OK: AP European History
OK: Western Civilization [AP European History]
OK: [AP European History] Western Civilization
NOT OK: AP Western Civilization

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We combine AP courses at our school (for example, we combine AP U.S. History and AP English Literature into an interdisciplinary course called American Studies). How do we receive authorization to conduct such combined AP courses, and how should we then affix the "AP" designation to such courses?

Complete the AP Course Audit forms for both courses and submit with each form the syllabus for the interdisciplinary course. If both AP subjects' curricular requirements are fulfilled, you will receive authorization for both AP courses. The "AP" designation can only be used with the official AP course titles, but you can certainly continue to use your current course title and then insert the official AP course titles in brackets either before or after your own course title.

Examples of acceptable and unacceptable course titles:
OK: AP English Literature and Composition/AP United States History
OK: American Studies [AP English Literature and Composition/AP United States History]
OK: [AP English Literature and Composition/AP United States History] American Studies
NOT OK: AP American Studies

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If our school uses a virtual school or other distance learning provider to deliver an online AP course to our students, can that course be listed as an AP course on the student's transcript and in the ledger of AP courses offered at our school?

If your school offers AP courses through an online course provider, such as a virtual school or distance learning provider, those courses may be listed on students' transcripts if the AP course provider has received permission from the College Board to label its course "AP." Your school principal or administrator can use his or her AP Course Audit account to indicate which authorized courses your school offers. These online or distance learning  AP courses will then be included with your school’s other authorized courses in the ledger sent to colleges and universities.

For more information about alternate providers, please visit the Online/Distance Learning AP Courses page.

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How can homeschool educators label their courses AP?

If you are a home school educator wishing to label your courses "AP," you can create an account on the AP Course Audit homepage at by clicking the "Create Account Now" link, then selecting “Home School Provider”. Once you have created an account, you will be able to submit your Course Audit materials. If you do not have an account and would like to contact us, please use the "Contact Us" link on the Course Audit homepage or call 877-APHELP-0.

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Can a dual-enrollment or IB course also be labeled "AP?"

The teachers of these courses and the principals at the schools providing these dual-enrollment/IB opportunities to their students must complete and submit the AP Course Audit form and syllabus for review. If authorized, these courses may be labeled "AP." The "AP" designation can only be used with the official AP course titles, but if your current course title differs from the official AP course title, you can certainly continue to use your current course title and then insert the official AP course title in brackets either before or after your own course title.

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News and Updates

Learning List

The College Board has partnered with Learning List to provide independent instructional materials review services for schools and districts for several redesigned and new subjects. More information about the alignment of each textbook is provided on the relevant example textbook lists. The new Example Textbook Lists which were reviewed by Learning List are for Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Science Principles, Physics 1 and 2, and World History.

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