Middle School Pre-AP FAQs
What are Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) courses?
Pre-AP courses in English, science and social studies are on-grade-level academically advanced courses; Pre-AP Math classes and 8th grade Algebra I are academically accelerated courses. All Pre-AP courses and Algebra I are designed to challenge motivated students to understand rigorous content. The coursework requires students to engage in independent and analytical assignments and to complete a substantial amount of work outside of class.
Harlingen CISD offers Pre-AP courses in English, math, science, and social studies as well as 8th grade Algebra I. Pre-AP middle school courses are designed to prepare students for high school Pre-AP and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses are college-level courses taught in a high school setting. At the end of each AP course an AP Exam is given. Qualifying scores on the AP exams can enable students to receive college credit and/or advanced standing at a university or college.
What is the difference between a Pre-AP and an Advanced (or General Education) class?
The curricula for both Pre-AP and Advanced courses are built on the core academic curriculum following the Texas Education Agency guidelines for each course, called the TEKS, or Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Students enrolled in Pre-AP should expect a more challenging class, faster pace, more in-depth classroom discussions, intensified vocabulary, an increased amount of required reading, the need for effective time management, and overall greater academic expectations on assignments.
What Pre-AP courses are available at Vela Middle School?
Pre-AP courses are available in all three grade levels in Math, English, Science and Social Studies.
Are there entry criteria for enrolling in Pre-AP courses?
Pre-AP courses are open to any student wanting more challenging coursework. Counselors, teachers, parents and students should work together to choose the most appropriate classes for student success and to ensure all prerequisite courses and criteria are met.
Students who experience success in Pre-AP courses typically exhibit the following personal and academic characteristics:
• Reading on or above grade level
• Strong study skills and self-motivation
• Proficient oral and written communications skills
• Self-discipline to plan, organize, and carry out tasks to completion
• Interest and self-directedness in a particular subject
• Successful completion of prerequisite coursework
• Grade of 90 or higher in an Advanced (or general education) class
• Grade of 80 or higher in a Pre-AP class
• Successful performance in related content area courses
(Example: math and science or English and social studies)
• Teacher recommendation
• Scores at the commended level on the most recent state assessment
closely related to the Pre-AP course being considered
(Example: 6th Reading for 7th Pre-AP ELA/R)
How many Pre-AP courses should a student take?
Students are encouraged to take Pre-AP courses that are appropriate to their interests and academic strengths. The number of Pre-AP courses also varies with students’ motivation, self-discipline, and available time outside of class. Students are not expected to enroll in Pre-AP courses in all core subject areas.
Placement of 6th graders in Pre-AP courses should be done with the guidance of the counselor, teacher, parent and student. Sixth grade students are at an age where their thinking is still primarily concrete rather than at the abstract, analytical level needed for Pre-AP courses. Inappropriate placement of many 6th grade students in Pre-AP classes has led to their remaining in the Pre-AP program throughout middle school where they were less successful in mastering critical foundational skills because of the depth or pace of the classes. These students often were unsuccessful in high school Pre-AP classes. A careful balance of the student's personal and academic characteristics with the prospective Pre-AP course(s) is essential.
Are all Pre-AP classes the same?
There are some differences in the expectations between content areas. Pre-AP Math and Algebra I are accelerated curriculum programs with the content different than the on-grade-level math course. In other words, in order to accelerate through the curriculum to take an AP math course in high school, students must learn more math content in middle school, with the possiblity of high school credit in 8th grade through Algebra I.
English, science, and social studies courses are taught on-grade-level with increased rigor and academic expectations. These differences are designed to prepare students for future participation in high school level AP courses.
Mathematics: Pre-AP Math and Algebra I accelerated content is structured as follows:
- 6th Grade = 6th Grade TEKS & 1/2 of 7th Grade TEKS
- 7th Grade = 1/2 of 7th TEKS & 8th Grade TEKS
- 8th Grade = Algebra I TEKS
Language Arts / Reading: Pre-AP ELA/R will have required independent reading assignments outside of class time throughout the year. Students will be expected to form in-depth analytical responses and articulate / elaborate on a variety of topics in classroom discussions and written and oral presentations.
Science: Pre-AP Science students should have an above average aptitude in Science. They should enjoy the higher questioning practices needed in science exploration. Students are expected to write complete scientific lab reports, be able to debate ethical issues, extend experiments by changing variables, and conduct independent research activities.
Social Studies: Pre-AP Social Studies students are expected to maturely discuss sensitive subjects in relation to different cultures, more quickly grasp the content and move into higher-order thinking skills in writing and discussion, and be able to meet the reading, essay and extension project requirements. Projects will be expectd to integrate technology and tests will incorporate more essay responses.
If a student is enrolled in a Pre-AP class, can the student still be in GT?
In HCISD, at the secondary level (grades 6-12) identified Gifted and Talented (GT) students are serviced by the Pre-AP/AP program and are required to take at least one Pre-AP or AP course each school year.
Will a student have time for after-school activities if enrolled in Pre-AP courses?
As in any course where there will be additional challenges, students who choose to enroll in Pre-AP should be prepared for the increased coursework, added academic rigor and time requirements of the course.
Must a student take Pre-AP courses in order to be prepared for college?
All academic courses in HCISD offer appropriate instruction to prepare students for college or university work. Many students without Pre-AP and/or AP coursework successfully complete their college education.
Additional information on the middle school Pre-AP program is available from the middle school counselors, instructional facilitator and administrators.