When does a school need a course approval from the Arkansas Department of Education?
- When schools wish to offer a course that is not included in the approved Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks, the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Program, or the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.*
- When schools want to give weighted credit for an honors course and/or concurrent credit course.
- When schools have a course approval on file with ADE, and the Arkansas Content Frameworks are revised for that content area.
- When schools wish to teach a high school course at the middle school level. Students that receive a passing grade for this course must be awarded appropriate credit. Credit awarded for a course that meets any of the twenty-two (22) required units for graduation must be included when computing a student’s cumulative grade point average.
*Approval is required whether the course will be used to satisfy the 38 courses required by Standards for Accreditation or high school graduation credit only.
What are the steps a school needs to take to get a course approved?
- Discuss your course needs with your district’s curriculum specialist and/or your principal.
- Obtain any paperwork or regulations required by your district when creating new courses.
- Download or print the High School Course Approval Request Form or Course Approval Form to Teach a High School Course in Grades 5-8 from the Related Files section of this page.
- Note that there are seven important items listed on the form that should be included with the approval request. These include the course outline; a list of instructional materials; and descriptions of the targeted student population, instructional strategies, assessments, and hands-on activities.
- Assistance with the applications can be provided by the content area specialists at ADE by calling 501-682-7442.
- When the course approval request is ready to submit, it can be mailed to Stacy Smith.
- After the review by the course approval committee, requests receive one of three possible responses: approval, disapproval, or request for further information.
- Schools will be notified in writing of committee findings, but often other communications occur before, during, and after the committee review.
- May 1 is the deadline for submission of requests for the following school year.
What laws and rules does our school need to be aware of regarding course approvals?
- Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools
- ADE Rules Governing Uniform Grading Scales for Public Secondary Schools and for Optimal use in Public Elementary Schools
For more information, please contact:
Thomas Coy, Public School Program Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Learning Services
Four Capitol Mall, Room 301-B
Little Rock, AR 72201