Course Approvals

When does a school need a course approval from the Arkansas Department of Education?

  • A course approval is necessary for any courses used to satisfy the thirty-eight (38) courses required by the Standards of Accreditation and/or to meet any of the twenty-two (22) required units for graduation:
    • that do not have an approved Arkansas Curriculum Framework, 
    • that are not part of the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Program, or
    • that are not part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. 
  • A course approval is necessary for any embedded course that is aligned to two sets of AR Academic Standards
  • A course approval is necessary for honors courses and/or concurrent credit courses for which the school wishes to award weighted credit.
  • An approved district plan is necessary prior to any school offering Credit by Demonstrated Mastery.
  • A course approval is necessary for a high school course taught at the middle school level. Students who receive a passing grade for high school courses taught at the middle school level must be awarded appropriate credit, and 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.
  • A course approval is necessary when districts wish to provide a Community Service Learning program.  Additional information can be found on the Community Service Learning web page.
  • A new course approval is necessary for any course approved prior to the latest Arkansas Curriculum Framework revision of the approved course’s content area. 
  • A course approval is not necessary for a course that is offered for local credit only.

What are the steps a school needs to take to get a course approved?

  1. Discuss your course needs with your district’s curriculum specialist and/or your principal.
  2. Obtain any paperwork or regulations required by your district when creating new courses. 
  3. Note that there are seven important items listed on the form that should be included with the approval request.  These include general information about the school and teacher(s); the course outline; a list of instructional materials; and descriptions of the targeted student population, instructional strategies, assessments, and hands-on activities.
  4. Assistance with the content of the applications can be provided by the content area specialists at ADE by contacting the appropriate unit listed below.
  5. When the course approval request is ready to submit, it should be submitted via the Online Course Approval System (CAS).
  6. After the review by the course approval committee, requests receive one of three possible responses: approval, disapproval, or request for further information.
  7. Schools will be notified by email of committee findings, but often other communications occur before, during, and after the committee review.
  8. May 1 is the deadline for submission of requests for the following school year.

For more information, please contact:

David Nance, Course Systems Specialist
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Four Capitol Mall, Room 303-B
Little Rock, AR  72201

Phone: 501-683-4905