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Definition of Course Levels

Academic courses are available on several ability/performance levels to meet the varied learning, post-secondary education and career needs of students:

CP – College Preparatory: College Prep courses are designed to prepare students for post-secondary studies in traditional academic programs. These courses place emphasis on theory, reading, research, problem solving and academic writing skills. Th e college preparatory level of rigor is expected of those students who plan to seek a four-year degree.

Honors: According to the Uniform Grading Policy, honors courses, which extend and deepen the opportunities provided by courses at the high school level, are designed for students exhibiting superior abilities in the particular content area. The honors curriculum places emphasis on critical and analytical thinking, rational decision making, and inductive and deductive reasoning. The goal of the UGP as to honors courses is to be rigorous and uniform while allowing for local decision-making.

All new courses that are assigned honors weighting must meet the criteria in the SC Honors Framework. Previous courses approved for honors weighting before 2017–18 may be re-examined with the SC Honors Framework criteria per local decision.

School districts may designate honors courses and give the assigned weighting under the following conditions:

  • There must be evidence that the honors-level course represents extension, acceleration, and enrichment of the South Carolina College Preparatory (CP) level course study. Curriculum should indicate depth in rigor, complexity, challenges, and creativity beyond the CP level course as outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
  • There must be evidence of appropriate differentiation in instructional practices for advanced learners that will enhance the delivery of instruction while strengthening the components outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
  • There must be evidence that purposeful assessment practices align with the honors level curriculum and instructional best practices, to include pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment.

One half of a quality point (.5) is added to the CP weighting for honors courses that have evidence of meeting the three criteria listed above.

These criteria apply to all honors courses, including those offered online and in nontraditional settings.

  • Transferring Courses with Honors Weight: All courses receiving honors weight from in-state and out-of-state public schools must be transcribed at honors weight even if the same honors course is not offered at the receiving school.
  • Home school, private school, or out-of-state non-public charter school students shall have the opportunity to provide evidence of work to be considered for honors weighting when transferring to a public school. The district shall have the right to evaluate evidence provided by the parent or student before transcribing the course(s) at honors weight. The receiving school may use the SC Honors Framework criteria to evaluate such evidence. The receiving school makes the final decision on whether to award the honors weighting. The SCDE advises districts to adopt a policy for accepting units of credit from home school, private school, or out-of-state non-public charter school for consistency.
  • Advanced Placement Courses and the College Board: According to the College Board, “Students who want to learn and achieve at the highest level become AP students. Through AP's college-level courses and exams, students can earn college credit and advanced placement, stand out in the admissions process and learn from some of the most skilled, dedicated and inspiring teachers in the world.” AP courses are weighted 1.0 quality point above College Preparatory courses per one unit of credit. Beaufort County high schools offer a wide variety of AP courses and exams across the district.

The College Board lists the following advantages for AP students:

  • Receive recognition from more than 3,600 colleges and universities that annually receive AP Exam scores.
  • Over 90% of 4-year colleges in the U.S. provide credit and/or advanced placement for qualifying exam scores.
  • Have time to move into upper-level courses in your field of interest, pursue a double major, or study abroad.
  • Design a college experience that suits you and gives you the flexibility to get the most out of your college years.
  • Demonstrate your maturity and readiness for college.
  • Show your willingness to take the most rigorous courses available to you.
  • Emphasize your commitment to academic excellence.
  • Get a head start on college-level work.
  • Improve your writing skills and sharpen your problem-solving techniques.
  • Develop the study habits necessary for tackling rigorous course work.

IB - International Baccalaureate Programme (IB Programme) (Hilton Head): The IB Diploma Programme is a prestigious international program that offers rigorous coursework across six (6) major disciplines. Students may elect to pursue the highly regarded IB Diploma or simply pursue IB Certificates in selected courses. The strength of the IB Programme is its holistic approach to educating students, which it achieves through both challenging coursework and additional opportunities such as th e Theory of Knowledge course (a critical thinking course that seeks to integrate the other six courses), the Extended Essay (a research topic of the student’s choice) and CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service) learning components. Universities throughout the world regard IB as one of the best high school preparatory programs for college coursework and may award college credit based on performance on international IB exams. IB courses are weighted 1.0 quality point above College Preparatory courses per unit of credit. There is no student cost/charge for the IB exam. The IB Diploma Programme is composed of six main subject areas:

  • English A1 (Group 1)
  • Language B (Group 2)
  • Individuals and Societies (Group 3)
  • Experimental Sciences and Computer Science (Group 4)
  • Mathematics (Group 5)
  • The Arts (Group 6)

Within each main subject area, courses are designated as Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL). The International Baccalaureate Organization allows a maximum of four courses to be taken at the Higher Level. Students select courses in their junior and senior year that incorporate each of the six main subject areas. In addition to the six courses, students are required to write a college-level essay on an approved topic of their choice, to complete a minimum of 150 hours of community service and to enroll in the Theory of Knowledge course. Contact the IB Coordinator at Hilton Head Island High School at 843-689-4800.

IBCP – International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (Hilton Head)

IBCP students undertake a minimum of two IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses, a core consisting of four components and a career-related study.

For IBCP students, DP courses provide the theory and academic rigor of the program; the career-related study further supports the program’s academic strength and provides practical, real-world approaches to learning; and helps to develop skills and competencies required for lifelong learning Honors Program Requirements.

Courses at or above the Honors level offered at the high school are open to students in grade 9 and 10 whose interest, attitude, ability and desire to excel are coupled with teacher and/or school counselor recommendation or parent request. Honors credit will only be given to students enrolled in a designated Honors level class. Honors level classes carry a .5 quality point higher than College Preparatory level classes. Students who successfully complete Honors level courses in 9th and 10th grade English, World Language, Social Studies, Mathematics and Science are strongly encouraged to register for IB or AP classes and develop a four- year plan in collaboration with their school counselor and/or the IB Coordinator.

Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) - (Battery Creek High School)
The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Diploma is an international curriculum and examination system that emphasizes the value of broad and balanced study. The Cambridge Academy provides students with the opportunity to pursue a rigorous program of study based on standardized curriculum. Students will also have the opportunity to apply learning through cross content methods. Contact Battery Creek High School for additional details.