Through an annual application process, UC grants program status to authorized organizations offering standardized high school curriculum as an option to fulfill the “a-g” subject requirements. Such approved “a-g” courses are referred to as program courses. Each organization with program status has an established “a-g” reference list composed of the program courses that have earned “a-g” approval.
Partner institutions can adopt "a-g" approved program courses on to their own course list without needing to submit a complete course content description. Program courses can streamline the implementation of college-preparatory courses as high schools can expect to receive curriculum resources and professional development opportunities from the organization with UC program status.
Programs that develop their own curriculum and sell or license their online courses for delivery by a teacher or administrator within a local high school or district may establish an “a-g” course list through a different process aligned with the University’s policy for online course publishers.
Refer to the A-G Course List website for the list of programs that currently maintain UC program status and an "a-g" course list.
Advantages of program status
Program status provides four key benefits:
- Saves time with no duplication of course reviews. Once a program course is approved by UC, any school, district or school network may adopt the program course to its own “a-g” course list without having UC review the same course again.
- Decreases “a-g” course submission workload for the school. Because program courses are already approved for “a-g” purposes, the adopting institution needs to input only basic course information pertinent to the school site and course (e.g., transcript abbreviations) when adding the program course to its own course list.
- Facilitates the offering of quality college-preparatory curriculum. The standardized nature of program courses creates “a-g” course offerings that schools can readily implement. Institutions can capitalize on the opportunity to adopt courses developed by other organizations, and can rely on those external program partners as resources to support their local teaching efforts.
- Receives technical support and personalized assistance. The UC High School Articulation unit provides helpful tools, guides, webinars and resources to assist programs in preparing and submitting their courses for "a-g" approval.
Establishing UC program status
To earn program status, an organization or program must meet all of the below criteria, as outlined by UC faculty policy.
- Be a school district, county office of education, state department of education, public or private college or university, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, or a private company.
- Have as an organizational goal: to better prepare students for university through rigorous high school curriculum.
- Have standardized curriculum that is taught consistently from one educational site to another.
- Secure a letter of agreement, indicating intent to teach the standardized curriculum, from a head of school or district from across a minimum of two California high school districts.
- Describe a plan for periodic professional development and/or training for school-based instructors to adequately prepare them to teach the standardized curriculum.
- Have an established structure and criteria to determine and define participating school sites offering the standardized curriculum, whether it is through a membership structure, a memorandum of understanding (MOU), a joint partnership agreement (JPA), or another structure that appropriately defines the relationship between and responsibilities of the curriculum provider and the school sites where the curriculum is taught.
- Have interaction and communication with participating schools, whether through regular meetings, site visits, conferences, advisory groups, e-mail distribution lists, newsletters or other relevant channels.
- Have in place a program evaluation process to monitor program/course quality at individual school sites offering program courses and, as requested, provide program evaluation process and results to UC.
- Agree to provide to UC annually a complete list of participating/member schools offering its program courses, including any program evaluation notes that give UC clearer understanding of the impact of the program course offerings.
- Require the participating high schools to teach the course(s) on site or, if courses are offered online, the schools must provide on-site mentors/supervisors.
Applying for UC program status
UC program status applications are accepted during the annual filing period, January 1* through May 31. This timeframe is set to allow newly approved program status entities sufficient time during the annual “a-g” course submission period (February 1 – September 15) to submit new program courses to UC for “a-g” review and approval. In turn, schools, districts and school networks wanting to adopt program courses will also have sufficient opportunities to add approved program courses to their own course lists before the “a-g” submission period concludes on September 15.
*The 2016 open period for program application processing will open on February 1, 2016 instead of January 1.
Maintaining UC program status
To sustain program status, an organization or program must:
- Maintain at least one approved “a-g” course on its course list each year.
- Provide evidence of periodic professional development and/or training for school-based instructors to adequately prepare them to teach the standardized curriculum.
- Undergo periodic program review and program status renewal by UC (every 3 years).
- Sign an agreement that indicates all of the UC program status criteria are currently, and will continue to be, met.