Advanced Courses (Policy 28.3)

To: District Superintendents, School Principals, and Guidance Counselors
From: Wendy Clemons
Subject: Chapter 28: Curriculum
Rule 28.3 Access to a Substantive and Rigorous Curriculum Policy

CC:                  MDE Office of Accreditation

During the recent superintendent’s meeting, Dr. Wright reviewed State Board Policy Chapter 28: Curriculum; Rule 28.3 Access to a Substantive and Rigorous Curriculum Policy.  To provide clarity to the policy, the Office of Secondary Education is offering the information below to address various questions received in the last week.

A portion of the policy states:

All high schools shall schedule and enroll eligible students in at least one (1) course, either Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge International (AICE) or International Baccalaureate (IB)as specified in Appendix B of the current version of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards. Distance Learning or Mississippi Online Course Application (MOCA) courses may be used to ensure students’ enrollment at each school.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below related to this policy.

1. Our school does not currently have any endorsed Advanced Placement teachers. What is the process for certification?

To reduce barriers to access, in consideration of the AP course syllabus audit process, and considering available online resources, the State Board of Education eliminated the additional licensure requirement to teach AP courses during the July 2020 SBE meeting. Effective in the 2020-2021 school year, teachers may teach an AP course with the appropriate secondary education content area endorsement. The additional endorsement is no longer required.

2. Is professional development available for selected Advanced Placement teachers?

AP teachers are required to complete and submit a course syllabus audit to the College Board. AP courses may not be taught until the teacher receives course syllabus approval from the College Board. Additionally, AP teachers should implement all available College Board online resources for both the teacher and the student.   The Office of Secondary Education will continue to support professional development opportunities for AP teachers.  Information concerning AP and the course audit is located on the College Board webpage:

3. Are students required to take all four rigorous/substantive courses?

No students are not required to enroll in all classes. Eligible students may enroll in any number of courses. Rule 28.3 is designed to ensure eligible students have the option to enroll in such courses and that schools take action to enroll such students.  High schools should provide intentional and direct academic advisement to students concerning course offerings.

4. Who determines eligibility for the substantive and rigorous courses?

Eligibility is determined locally and should be outlined in district policy.  The district may consider criteria such as prerequisite courses, grades in those courses, and similar information.  Note that the College Board promotes an open enrollment policy, but ultimately that enrollment is up to the district.  There is no specific number of AP courses that a student must participate in under this policy.  Instead, students should be allowed access to AP courses for which they are eligible and interested.  AP Potential may help the district in determining what students show potential to be successful in AP classes.  College Board provides a free tool to identify potential students who would excel in Advanced Placement courses based on PSAT scores.  Information concerning AP Potential may be located on the following link:

As for Dual Credit and Advanced Placement, the MDE recognizes that there is a place for both courses in a student’s schedule.  Some students may benefit from Advanced Placement due to their post-secondary plans whereas others may benefit from dual credit courses.

Please ensure your staff reviews the course descriptions and curriculum prior to determining if requirements are necessary for course entry.

Please contact the MDE Office of Secondary Education if there are additional questions.