What is the Texas Core Curriculum?

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So what does this mean for me in Northwest ISD?

Public colleges and universities in the state of Texas now use the same “core” courses for undergraduate degrees.  You might have heard of this core as “the basics” in prior years.   What it really means for you in Northwest ISD is that knowing that public colleges and universities in the state of Texas have the same “core” courses, then you can be deliberate in your course selection for your HS courses and check-off some of those core elements while in HS!  

To make it easier, think of the Texas Core Curriculum as:

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Each time you take a course in Northwest ISD that fits a Core Element, you are taking a course toward your Bachelor’s degree from any public institution of higher ed in the state!

Policy Support for the Texas Core Curriculum -

In Texas Administrative Code (Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter B, Rule 4.28) provides your information that the Texas Legislature supports the accrual and transfer of TX Core Curriculum credit.  In short, “a student who transfers from one institution of higher education to another without completing the core curriculum of the sending institution must receive academic credit within the core curriculum of the receiving institution for each of the courses that the student has successfully completed in the core curriculum of the sending institution”.  

Translation:  The public institution of higher education here in Texas that you attend after high school is obligated to take your Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment credits earned with NISD that are TX Core Curriculum courses!

In fact, we offer more than 1 way to earn these Core Element credits - both Advanced Placement AND Dual Credit courses can help you earn college credits that will apply to public colleges and universities here in Texas!  Look @ the table below to see some of our offerings and recommended grade levels to attempt those offerings:  

Bold indicates course meets Texas Core Curriculum Component for Texas Public Colleges and Universities


Advanced Placement

Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment

Social Sciences


AP Human Geography (Gr 9-12)

AP World History (Gr 10-12)

AP US History (Gr 11)

AP Macroeconomics (Gr 12)

AP US Government (Gr 12)

AP Psychology (Gr 10-12)

AP European History (Gr 10-12)

AP Comparative Government (Gr 11-12)

GOVT 2305 (Federal Government) (Gr 12)

GOVT 2306 (Texas Government)

ECON 2301 (Macroeconomics) (Gr 12)

PSYC 2301 (General Psychology) (Gr 11)

SOCI 1301 (Intro to Sociology) (Gr 11)

HIST 315K/315L (HIST 1301/1302) OnRamps US History

**HIST 1301 (US History)

**HIST 1302 (U.S. History 1302 (1865 – present))



AP English Language (English 3)

AP English Literature (English 4)


ENGL 1301 (Composition I) (English 3 or 4)

ENGL 1302 (Composition II) (English 3 or 4)

RHE 306/309 (ENGL 1301/1302) OnRamps English (English 3 or 4)

ENGL 2332 (World Literature I) (English 4)

ENGL 2333 (World Literature II) (English 4)

ENGL 2322 (British Literature I) (English 4)

ENGL 2323 (British Literature II) (English 4)



AP Calculus AB (Gr 11-12)

AP Calculus BC (Gr 11-12)

AP Statistics (Gr 11-12)


MATH 1314 (College Alg.) (Gr 11-12)

MATH 1342 (Elm. Statistics) (Gr 11-12)

MATH 2412 (PreCalculus) (Gr 11-12)

MATH 2312 (PreCalculus OnRamps) (Gr 11-12)

MATH 2413 (Calculus I)

MATH 2414 (Calculus II)

MATH 1342 (Statistics OnRamps) (Gr 11-12)



AP Biology (Gr 10-12)

AP Chemistry (Gr 10-12)

AP Physics I (Gr 10-12)

AP Physics C: Mechanics (Gr 11-12)

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism  (Gr 11-12)

AP Environmental Science (Gr 11-12)

BIOL 2401 ( Human Anatomy and Physiology I)

BIOL 2402 (Human Anatomy and Physiology II)

PHYS 1401 College Physics (Physics I)

PHYS 1402 College Physics (Physics II)

CHEM 1411 General Chemistry (Gen Chem I)

CHEM 1412 General Chemistry (Gen Chem II)

BIOL 2406 (Environmental Biology)

Fine Arts


AP Music Theory (Gr 10-12)

AP Art - Drawing (Gr 10-12)

AP Art – 2D (Gr 10-12)

AP Art – 3D (Gr 10-12)

ARTS 1301 (Art Appreciation)




AP Spanish Language (Gr 10-12)

AP French Language (Gr 10-12)

AP German Language (Gr 10-12)

AP Capstone Seminar (Gr 10-11)

AP Capstone Research (Gr 11-12)

AP Computer Science (Gr 10-12)

AP Computer Science Principles (Gr 10-12) 

SPCH 1315 (Public Speaking) (Gr 10-12)

SPCH 1321 (Business and Professional Communication) (Gr 10-12)

EDUC 1300 (Learning Frameworks)


 **Steele Accelerated High School ONLY                                                                                                        

Want to know more about the Texas Core Curriculum or see some samples of some college and university core curriculum, check out the links below!

UT Austin Core Curriculum

Texas A&M Core Curriculum

UNT Core Curriculum

Texas Tech U Core Curriculum

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board - Texas Core Curriculum

Thinking about Taking Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment or AP courses and not sure which to choose?  Consider:

Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment

AP Classes


To meet “core” college requirements and electives by taking courses from institutions partnered with NISD

To meet “core” college requirements by achieving a qualifying score on an AP Exam.


33 core courses (plus additional  CTE Offerings)

30  AP classes


Courses completed from the Texas Core Curriculum transfer to all public in-state colleges and universities. Many out-of-state public and private schools may take courses as transfer, but it is up to the institution.

Exams with qualifying scores for courses in the Texas Core Curriculum transfer to all public in-state colleges and universities.

Accepted by most institutions, public & private.  *Be sure to search the AP Credit Policy for your potential college/university.

How (College) Credit is Earned

Dual Credit grade is a course grade earned at the end of each semester.

Credit earned by achieving a qualifying score on a single, national exam administered in May;  Exams scored on a 1-5 scale, with 3 or higher  being a “qualifying score”. Course grade has nothing to do with the AP Exam score.


Generally $72/credit hour + textbooks AND fees; most courses are 3 credit hours.  (cost varies by partner institution)

$93 Exam for 2015-16; partially funded by NISD

Cost factors broken out -

Dual Credit - $258 per course + Books 

(Scholarships available from college partners and F/R lunch students have a reduction/waiver in cost for 2 course from some partners)

Dual Enrollment - $295 per course (books included)    

(F/R lunch students pay $75 per course (books included)
*These courses could potentially have no cost in 2017-18 pending the Texas Legislature*

AP Exams - $93 per Exam

(NISD students pay $65 per exam in 2016-17 and F/R lunch students pay $10 per exam)

Limits on Enrollment/ Conflicts

Prerequisites for certain courses apply.  Students must also either meet an exemption on the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) college-readiness assessment or meet standard on the TSI Assessment, which is offered in NISD.

Students must also meet timelines for enrollment established by partner institutions.

Students may register for and participate in AP courses at any time.  There are certain grade-level recommendations for most courses (i.e. AP English Language as English 3, etc.).  

Caution - The one note of caution - a failing grade in an AP Course will impact your HS GPA, but failing a Dual Credit course will impact your College GPA, which will have an effect on your overall College GPA regardless of what institution you attend.  Be sure to stay determined and work hard while in a Dual Credit course!

Choosing the best option -

There are many factors to consider when choosing AP or Dual Credit courses, the most important of which is your future - what are your colleges of choice? What is your major of choice?  Both AP and Dual Credit courses may help prepare you for in-state public colleges, but AP may be preferable for private institutions.  Both AP and Dual Credit courses have many offerings to choose from, as well as provide exposure to collegiate level instruction.  

The demands of both courses will be slightly different (course grade vs. one exam) but both will require willingness to work and will be challenging.