AP Course Sequencing and Pairing

Help more students take more than one AP course by offering the next course in a sequence of courses or a paired companion course. 

Double the Credit, Double the Fun

Pair AP United States History with AP English Language and Composition to create a cross-curricular experience for AP students.   

WHY: To foster instructional partnerships amongst teachers and teach students to use language skills and analysis and apply them within historical contexts and modern issues. This method not only increases participation in these AP classes but also helps students understand the concept that knowledge is cross-curricular.  


  • Have 2 teachers collaborate and directly connect their coursework to be taught as 1 course. Ensure the teachers chosen are up for a challenge, open-minded, and willing to experiment with lessons. 

  • Pick 2 courses that naturally reinforce each other, which makes the coursework more comprehensible and fun for students.  

  • Encourage students to use sources from both curricula when completing assignments. 

CREATED BY: Rancho Verde High School (Moreno Valley, Calif.) 


“As a team, we understood that increased access did not mean less rigor; instead, we placed a higher demand on teamwork and innovation. ” — Kory Bootsma, Social Sciences Teacher  

Early Algebra Is Essential

Embrace the idea that you have to work backward to move forward. Make changes that will prepare students for more challenging high school courses to allow them to reach more advanced-level math and sciences. 

WHY: To set more students up for success earlier and help more students reach AP Calculus courses and advanced sciences, like AP Physics courses in high school. The timing of when a student takes Algebra 1 and how successful they are in that course is pivotal to their development. 


  • Structure course sequencing in your school district to follow the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recommendation that all students complete Algebra I by the time they finish ninth grade, so most students are ready for precalculus by the time they enter high school. 

  • Restructure reading programs for sixth- and seventh-graders to emphasize study skills and habits, such as note-taking, before they are introduced to more sophisticated math classes.

CREATED BY: Cumberland Valley School District (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) 


“To perform a schoolwide transformation, you work your way down into the lower grades and then scaffold back up to build your program. Our school went from 6.5% of seniors taking AP courses to one out of every two students.” — William Harner, Superintendent 

Supporting Resources