Distinguished Plan

Distinguished Achievement High School Program--Advanced High School Program

(26 Credits)


4 Credits English language arts: 

The credits must consist of English I, II, III, and IV. (Students with limited English proficiency who are at the beginning or intermediate level of English language proficiency, as defined by §74.4(d) of this title (relating to English Language Proficiency Standards), may satisfy the English I and English II graduation requirements by successfully completing English I for Speakers of Other Languages and English II for Speakers of Other Languages.)


4 Credits Mathematics: 

Three of the credits must consist of Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry.

(A)  The fourth credit may be selected from the following courses after successful completion of Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry:

(i)  Precalculus;

(ii)  Independent Study in Mathematics;

(iii)  Advanced Quantitative Reasoning;

(iv)  Statistics;

(v)  Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics;

(vi)  AP Calculus AB;

(vii)  AP Calculus BC;

(viii)  AP Computer Science;

(ix)  International Baccalaureate (IB) Mathematical Studies Standard Level;

(x)  IB Mathematics Standard Level;

(xi)  IB Mathematics Higher Level;

(xii)  IB Further Mathematics Standard Level;

(xiii)  Robotics Programming and Design;

(xiv)  Discrete Mathematics for Problem Solving;

(xv)  Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science; and

(xvi)  pursuant to the Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.025(b-5), a mathematics course endorsed by an institution of higher education as a course for which the institution would award course credit or as a prerequisite for a course for which the institution would award course credit. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) shall maintain a current list of courses approved under this clause.

(B)  The additional credit may be selected from the following courses and may be taken after the successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry and either after the successful completion of or concurrently with Algebra II:

(i)  Engineering Mathematics;

(ii)  Statistics and Risk Management; and

(iii)  Digital Electronics.


4 Credits Science: 

Three of the credits must consist of a biology credit (Biology, AP Biology, or IB Biology), a chemistry credit (Chemistry, AP Chemistry, or IB Chemistry), and a physics credit (Physics, AP Physics, or IB Physics).

(A)  The fourth credit may be selected from the following laboratory-based courses:

(i)  Aquatic Science;

(ii)  Astronomy;

(iii)  Earth and Space Science;

(iv)  Environmental Systems;

(v)  AP Biology;

(vi)  AP Chemistry;

(vii)  AP Physics B;

(viii)  AP Physics C;

(ix)  AP Environmental Science;

(x)  IB Biology;

(xi)  IB Chemistry;

(xii)  IB Physics;

(xiii)  IB Environmental Systems; and

(xiv)  pursuant to the TEC, §28.025(b-5), a science course endorsed by an institution of higher education as a course for which the institution would award course credit or as a prerequisite for a course for which the institution would award course credit. The TEA shall maintain a current list of courses approved under this clause.

(B)  The additional credit may be selected from the following laboratory-based courses and may be taken after the successful completion of biology and chemistry and either after the successful completion of or concurrently with physics:

(i)  Scientific Research and Design;

(ii)  Anatomy and Physiology;

(iii)  Engineering Design and Problem Solving;

(iv)  Medical Microbiology;

(v)  Pathophysiology;

(vi)  Advanced Animal Science;

(vii)  Advanced Biotechnology;

(viii)  Advanced Plant and Soil Science;

(ix)  Food Science;

(x)  Forensic Science; and

(xi)  Principles of Engineering.


4 Credits Social studies: 

The credits must consist of World History Studies (one credit), World Geography Studies (one credit), United States History Studies Since 1877 (one credit), United States Government (one-half credit), and Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits (one-half credit).


3 Credits Languages other than English:

The credits must consist of any three levels in the same language.


1 Credit Physical education:

(A)  The required credit may be selected from any combination of the following one-half to one credit courses:

(i)  Foundations of Personal Fitness;

(ii)  Adventure/Outdoor Education;

(iii)  Aerobic Activities; and

(iv)  Team or Individual Sports.

(B)  In accordance with local district policy, credit for any of the courses listed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph may be earned through participation in the following activities:

(i)  Athletics;

(ii)  Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC); and

(iii)  appropriate private or commercially sponsored physical activity programs conducted on or off campus. The district must apply to the commissioner of education for approval of such programs, which may be substituted for state graduation credit in physical education. Such approval may be granted under the following conditions.

(I)  Olympic-level participation and/or competition includes a minimum of 15 hours per week of highly intensive, professional, supervised training. The training facility, instructors, and the activities involved in the program must be certified by the superintendent to be of exceptional quality. Students qualifying and participating at this level may be dismissed from school one hour per day. Students dismissed may not miss any class other than physical education.

(II)  Private or commercially sponsored physical activities include those certified by the superintendent to be of high quality and well supervised by appropriately trained instructors. Student participation of at least five hours per week must be required. Students certified to participate at this level may not be dismissed from any part of the regular school day.

(C)  In accordance with local district policy, up to one credit for any one of the courses listed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph may be earned through participation in any of the following activities:

(i)  Drill Team;

(ii)  Marching Band; and

(iii)  Cheerleading.

(D)  All substitution activities allowed in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph must include at least 100 minutes per five-day school week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

(E)  Credit may not be earned for any course identified in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph more than once. No more than four substitution credits may be earned through any combination of substitutions allowed in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph.

(F)  If a student is unable to comply with all of the requirements for a physical education course due to a physical limitation certified by a licensed medical practitioner, a modification to a physical education course does not prohibit the student from earning a Distinguished Achievement Program diploma. A student with a physical limitation must still demonstrate proficiency in the relevant knowledge and skills in a physical education course that do not require physical activity.

(G)  A student who is unable to participate in physical activity due to disability or illness may substitute an academic elective credit (English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies) for the physical education credit requirement. The determination regarding a student's ability to participate in physical activity will be made by:

(i)  the student's admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee if the student receives special education services under the Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 29, Subchapter A;

(ii)  the committee established for the student under Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 United States Code, §794) if the student does not receive special education services under the TEC, Chapter 29, Subchapter A, but is covered by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; or

(iii)  a committee established by the school district of persons with appropriate knowledge regarding the student if each of the committees described by clauses (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph is inapplicable. This committee shall follow the same procedures required of an ARD or a Section 504 committee.


½ Credit Speech:

The credit may be selected from the following courses:

(A)  Communication Applications; and

(B)  Professional Communications.


1 Credit Fine Arts:

The credit may be selected from the following courses:

(A)  Art, Level I, II, III, or IV;

(B)  Dance, Level I, II, III, or IV;

(C)  Music, Level I, II, III, or IV;

(D)  Theatre, Level I, II, III, or IV;

(E)  Principles and Elements of Floral Design;

(F)  Digital Art and Animation; and

(G)  3-D Modeling and Animation.


4 ½ Credits Elective courses:

The credits may be selected from the list of courses specified in §74.71(h) of this title (relating to High School Graduation Requirements). All students who wish to complete the Distinguished Achievement High School Program are encouraged to study each of the four foundation curriculum areas (English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) every year in high school. A student may not combine a half credit of a course for which there is an end-of-course assessment with another elective credit course to satisfy an elective credit requirement.


 Advanced measures:

 A student also must achieve any combination of four of the following advanced measures. Original research/projects may not be used for more than two of the four advanced measures. The measures must focus on demonstrated student performance at the college or professional level. Student performance on advanced measures must be assessed through an external review process. The student may choose from the following options:

(1)  original research/project that is:

          (A)  judged by a panel of professionals in the field that is the focus of the project; or

          (B)  conducted under the direction of mentor(s) and reported to an appropriate audience; and

          (C)  related to the required curriculum set forth in §74.1 of this title (relating to Essential Knowledge and Skills);

(2)  test data showing a student has earned:

          (A)  a score of three or above on the College Board advanced placement examination;

          (B)  a score of four or above on an International Baccalaureate examination; or

          (C)  a score on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) that qualifies the student for recognition as a commended scholar or higher by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, as part of the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) of the College Board or as part of the National Achievement Scholarship Program of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The PSAT/NMSQT score shall count as only one advanced measure regardless of the number of honors received by the student; or

(3)  college academic courses, including those taken for dual credit, and advanced technical credit courses, including locally articulated courses, with a grade of 3.0 or higher.