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Advanced Level and Alternative Courses

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

The high school Advanced Placement program is a College Board program that allows high school students to access college-level curriculum. This curriculum assists and prepares students for their college or university coursework.

Earn College Credit

Students who take AP exams, which are administered annually in May, can earn college credit, depending on their score and the college they plan to attend.

As of May 2019, Senate Bill 5410 requires that all Washington state public “institutions of higher education must establish a coordinated, evidence-based policy for granting as many undergraduate college credits, as possible and appropriate, to students who have earned a minimum score of three on Advanced Placement exams” (RCW 28B.10.054).

This means that students who earn a passing score on any AP exam and plan to attend a Washington state public institution can learn well ahead of time which type of college credit their college or university will award with the passage of the student’s AP exam. Students and families should check the college or university website to get further details regarding college credits and AP exam scores.

High School Advanced Placement is coordinated through the district office to standardize AP testing practices districtwide, which supports Seattle Public Schools’ staff, students and families more consistently. AP testing coordinators use approved AP testing protocols and procedures in alignment with the Seattle Public Schools strategic plan which focuses on eliminating the opportunity gaps and ensures that students of color who are furthest from educational justice will graduate ready for college and careers. Read more about the district’s strategic plan.

There are several ways to learn more about how students may benefit from taking Advanced Placement courses. Students or families can talk with a high school counselor or AP Testing coordinator, or read more on the College Board website.

AP Courses at Seattle Public Schools

A variety of Advanced Placement Courses are offered districtwide at SPS high schools. On the next page, you can find a list of the 2019-20 AP Courses offered at 11 comprehensive high schools. AP Course offerings change annually based on staffing and student enrollment.

Note: Chief Sealth and Ingraham high schools are International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, so they offer fewer AP Courses. Rainier Beach High School is also an International Baccalaureate school and does not offer AP courses. Read more about IB.

AP Contacts

High School AP Coordinators

Please contact your high school’s AP coordinator if you have questions about AP testing or registration.

Ballard AP information on Ballard website

The Center School  AP information on Center School website

Cleveland Academic information on Cleveland website

Franklin AP information on Franklin website

Garfield AP information on Garfield website

Nathan Hale AP information on Nathan Hale website

Ingraham AP information on Ingraham website

Lincoln  AP information on Lincoln website

Roosevelt   AP information on Roosevelt website

Chief Sealth Academic information on Chief Sealth website

West Seattle AP information on West Seattle website


AP Exams and Course Grades

AP exams, given each year in May, are standardized tests designed to measure how well students have mastered the content and skills of a specific AP course. 

AP testing is highly encouraged, but not required. Per College Board, AP courses offer the opportunity to study a subject in-depth at the college level. This better prepares students for college work. If the student receives a high enough score on an AP exam, the student may be eligible for credit, advanced placement or both at most colleges in the United States.

Teachers of AP courses may not attach final course grades based on a student’s willingness and/or ability to take the AP exam. This practice is contrary to SPS Racial Equity Policy #0030, which must ensure educational and racial equity for every student in each of our schools.

Providing incentives to attempt the AP exam is acceptable as long as it supports a culturally responsive approach to teaching and supports the SPS Racial Equity Policy #0030. Read the Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity School Board Policy #0030


Services for Students with Disabilities Accommodations

Students that are eligible for Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Accommodations must work with the school’s SSD coordinator to complete the required paperwork to receive approval from College Board.

It takes several weeks for College Board to process these requests, so paperwork must be submitted by SSD coordinators as soon as students enroll in the AP course. To begin this process, students and families must communicate with their IEP case manager or the school counselor to communicate the need for the SSD accommodation for the AP exam.


Late Testing

SPS High Schools offering AP courses and exams may need to offer late exams, although late exam exceptions are rare, (fewer than 1% districtwide). The College Board publishes a list of approved circumstances that will not incur a late testing fee, however, late testing at SPS is typically reserved for high school seniors that do not have the option to take their AP exam the following school year. Read the late-testing policies on the College Board website.

The team of AP testing coordinators will work collaboratively to determine which exams can be offered districtwide based on capacity and need. SPS may not be able to offer late exams for all AP courses or for all requests.