The Pre-AP Program is a program offered to schools by College Board. Pre-AP courses deliver grade-level appropriate instruction through focused course frameworks, instructional resources, classroom assessments for learning, and collaborative educator workshops. They are designed to support all students across varying levels of abilities. They are not honors or advanced courses. The Program components provide educators and their students the space and time for deep engagement with content.
Participating schools receive an official Pre-AP designation for each course and the opportunity to bring engaging, meaningful, foundational coursework to all their students across varying levels of abilities. This designation signals consistent, high standards in focused courses that help build, strengthen, and reinforce students’ content knowledge and critical thinking skills.
The Pre-AP Program launched in the 2018-2019 school year with eight courses. Three additional courses launched as part of the 2020-21 academic year.
The Pre-AP Program’s objectives are to:
- Offer every student access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success in high school and beyond
- Provide educators with engaging, targeted course materials that help them ensure their students successfully master grade-level materials.
How It Works
Pre-AP® courses deliver grade-level appropriate instruction through focused course frameworks, engaging instructional resources, and classroom assessments for understanding. They are designed to support all students across varying levels of abilities. They are not honors or advanced courses. Students learn more deeply by spending time on the topics and skills that matter most. The program components provide teachers and students the time for deep engagement with content. Pre-AP challenges students to build relevant critical thinking skills through the following shared principles:
Close Observation and Analysis: As students encounter texts, art, graphs, maps, problems, and other source materials, they will learn to first engage in deep, close observation before being asked to explain and then apply or evaluate.
Evidence-Based Writing: Students craft claims in science, analyze sources in history, provide explanations to problems in math, demonstrate reading comprehension in ELA, and critique artistic choices in the arts. They begin with a focus on the sentence before progressing to paragraph- and essay-level writing.
Higher-Order Questioning: Students are encouraged to grapple with questions that spark curiosity and promote productive critical thinking skills so they can succeed on unfamiliar, new tasks.
Academic Conversation: Students must be engaged, active participants in their learning. Pre-AP offers frequent opportunities for students to compare, critique, debate, and build upon others’ ideas.
What We Provide
If your school opts to offer Pre-AP courses to prepare all students for success in high school and beyond, here’s what we supply.
Focused Course Frameworks: The Pre-AP course frameworks are like a blueprint that teachers can use to plan targeted instruction that best suits their students’ specific needs. By devoting more time to fewer concepts, all students are able to achieve success and mastery of grade-level-appropriate material.
Engaging Instructional Resources: Model lessons that feature motivating classroom activities, engaging texts, and challenging practice. They’re developed in close collaboration with educational experts and align closely with state standards.
Assessments for Learning: The Pre-AP digital learning checkpoints, refreshed regularly, are low stakes, formative assessments intended to inform both instruction and learning. The performance tasks are performance-based unit assessments that provide teachers with the opportunity to measure student performance on key concepts and skills not easily measured by multiple-choice questions. The optional final exams provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate success with the content and skills articulated in the course frameworks. Final exams are administered in the spring and are refreshed regularly.
Development for Pre-AP Teachers:
- Online Foundational Module Series: Course-specific online modules, 12–20 hours in length, take teachers through the course-specific frameworks and shared principles and highlight best practices for implementation. Leader-specific modules can be completed in 4–6 hours and support leaders in understanding the instructional design and program requirements of Pre-AP. Teachers and leaders who complete this series will receive continuing education units.
- Online Scoring Modules: Course teachers have access to online modules to learn how to accurately score and provide effective student feedback for Pre-AP performance tasks.
- Pre-AP Webinar Series: This series of free webinars provides relevant information to educators about the program.
Pre-AP and Honors Classes
All Pre-AP courses are defined by the Pre-AP Approach to Teaching and Learning, not just the course titles. Schools can offer Pre-AP and Pre-AP Honors sections of the same course, as long as the Pre-AP Approach to Teaching and Learning is the foundation for both courses—defined by the Pre-AP course framework, shared principles, areas of focus, and assessments for learning.
The course framework defines the learning objectives that apply to all students enrolled in the course, but differentiation for specific student populations is most effective when guided by local decisions. Targeted instructional suggestions for meeting learners’ needs are provided in Pre-AP resources as examples.
Any additional differentiation can be implemented by teachers to ensure all students have equitable opportunities for engaging in Pre-AP. Schools and teachers can best determine the most appropriate supports and extensions for students who need them. For example, teachers may increase or decrease the scaffolding provided, or they may choose to enhance the current Pre-AP resources by increasing the complexity of a text or data set for students who are ready to engage in more advanced work.
Get more information on how your school can offer Pre-AP courses.