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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Assistance with the content of the applications can be provided by the content area specialists at ADE by contacting the appropriate unit listed below.
- When the course approval request is ready to submit, it should be submitted via the Online Course Approval System (CAS).
- 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 by email 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.
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