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9th-12th Course Acceleration

Guidelines - Exam for HS Course Acceleration (no prior instruction)

About the Exam

Students in high school  are allowed the opportunity to earn credit for individual courses with no prior instruction. This exam for acceleration (EA) is designed for a small percentage of learners who have both the academic and emotional need to advance a course. Students must demonstrate mastery of 80% or higher on an EA to earn credit. 

The test formats vary in the number of items, however all tests contain multiple choice, and may contain open response/essay items, and/or have required reading prior to taking the assessment (see review sheets below). 

The EA’s purpose is not to inform parents about a student’s academic performance or progress. An EA will not provide information regarding objectives or skills missed. Knowing a score or how many questions a student missed does not help in guiding instruction. Forney ISD assesses students throughout the year with a variety of formative and summative assessments that provide parents with information regarding how a student is performing academically.

If an Exam for Acceleration is passed, your child will be accelerated to the next course in the sequence. If your student is in middle school, your child may need to attend the middle or high school in order to take the next course. Transportation to/from the HS may be the responsibility of the parent. If you do not want your student to accelerate or are not sure you want him/her to accelerate, your child should not take an EA. 

Students must earn a passing grade on an exam for acceleration for both semesters of a course in order to accelerate to the next course. 

Eligibility to Test

  • Students enrolled in Forney ISD are only eligible to apply for exams for acceleration for a grade level or course for which all prerequisites have been met or are currently being met, and in the order of the district’s usual course sequence. Middle school students will not be allowed to register for high school exams for acceleration until middle school curriculum course requirements have been met. 
  • Students may take a Credit by Exam for acceleration purposes during any of the four testing periods. However, the following restrictions apply:
    • Students must meet the minimum assessment history (MAP & STAAR if applicable) requirements before the first test will be ordered
    • Students may only accelerate in one course per subject per testing window. (Example: a Spanish 1 exam and a Spanish 2 exam cannot be taken in the same testing window) 
    • Students may only attempt acceleration once per testing window for the same grade/subject (students may not retest in the same window)
    • Students may only attempt acceleration two timesEligibility for a second attempt will depend on the score on attempt one. Per Texas Education Code 74.24(6), a student may not attempt to earn credit by exam for a specific high school course more than two times
    • Student may not take an exam for acceleration for a course in which they are currently enrolled
  • A student’s placement in a new course will only occur at the start of the school year, no matter what testing window the test was taken.
    • Per Texas Education Code §74.24(7), if a student fails to earn credit by examination (both semesters) for a specific high school course before the beginning of the school year in which the student would ordinarily be required to enroll in that course in accordance with the school district's prescribed course sequence, the student must satisfactorily complete the course to receive credit. 
  • All acceleration attempts must occur during district approved testing windows.
  • Once an exam for acceleration has been passed, it may not be taken again.
  • EOC Course Acceleration 
    • Students can take a credit-by-exam test in STAAR EOC courses which includes Algebra 1, Biology, English 1, English 2, US History
    • Grade level prerequisites for Advanced Placement (AP) courses must be met before a student can be enrolled in an AP course
      • Ex. a student who is successful on an English 1 CBE and accelerates into English 2 as a freshman will not be allowed into AP English (pre-requisite = Junior) as sophomore, the student will be placed in on-level English 3 class

Requirements to Advance

A student in any of Grades 7-12 must be given credit for an academic subject in which he or she has had no prior instruction if the student scores: 

  1. 80% on any other criterion-referenced test approved by the school district board of trustees for the applicable course.
    • A student must earn a passing score on both semesters of the course in which they want to accelerate in order for credit to be earned
    • Both semesters must be completed and scored prior to the beginning of the school year or student will be expected to sit in the course as scheduled in the appropriate sequence
  2. a three or higher on a College Board advanced placement examination that has been approved by the school district board of trustees for the applicable course;
  3. a scaled score of 50 or higher on an examination administered through the College-Level Examination Program and approved by the school district board of trustees for the applicable course

Review guides

  • All credit-by-exam tests from University of Texas and Texas Tech University are based on grade level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
    • See TEKS on Texas Education Agency
    • See Lead4ward TEKS Snapshot -available for core content classes only
      • Resources > Content Builder Resources > Select the TEKS Snapshot for the appropriate grade level/subject
    • Any state adopted grade level textbook can be used to study
  • Review guides - counselor will inform you which vendor will be used for your exam for acceleration
    • Select correct grade levels and subject
    • These review sheets will give information about the format of the test, how to study for the exam and what assignments and additional materials are due at the time of the exam. They do not tell you what to study since the test is based on the grade level and subject TEKS
    • University of Texas review guides
    • TTU Review sheets

Score Reporting and Course Credit

Results will be sent to the counselor of the school where the student is registered. The campus will contact you directly regarding your student’s test results and recommendations will be discussed. The testing office will not give out any information regarding the results of the exam for acceleration testing. 

  • Appeal of the testing results will not be available.
  • After successful completion (80% or better) of a CBE or an EA taken for high school credit (both semesters), the numerical score earned will be posted to the student’s high school transcript and the student will earn high school credit. The transcripted credit will not be calculated into the student’s grade point average (GPA) for ranking purposes. Scores below the required minimum for credit will not be posted. 
  • Students are not allowed to forfeit credit earned via exam for acceleration. Once credit is earned, students cannot sit in the course for any reason, including for local credit or because of low performance in the subsequent course. 
  • Depending on the testing vendor, scoring may take 2 to 4 weeks. 


Exam for Acceleration (EA) - While there is no charge to parents when students take an EA, there is a cost to the district for both the test and occasionally the proctor who monitors the exam as it is given. Therefore, please carefully consider availability during the testing window before completing the application and gather input from educators and/or counselors to determine whether or not acceleration is in the best interest of the student. If a student does not take the exam(s) for which s/he is registered, the district will not assume the cost for the student to register again for the same exam. In this case, the parent/guardian will be required to pay for the exam(s) before the exam(s) will be ordered. 

Additional Considerations

  • Course sequence - There is NO guarantee that the next course in the sequence will be available at either the home campus or another campus. If that course is available on another campus, district transportation will not be provided. 
  • Social maturity – When advancing a course, your child’s social and emotional maturity may not match the maturity level of the other students in the course. 
  • Student desire- A student should have the desire and drive to accelerate and maintain the workload of the higher level class. 
  • Teacher/counselor recommendation- Teachers and counselors see your student on a daily basis and may be able to provide additional information regarding whether or not acceleration would be appropriate. 
  • Course opportunities later in high school- In some situations, accelerating now may put your child in a position where he/she is limited in course options as a high school junior or senior. Make sure you are clear on the ultimate goal of acceleration, Early Graduation, Associate’s degree, other (discuss with your counselor)
    • Students are required to have 26 credits in order to graduate. With the modified double block schedule students are required to take a minimum of 6 classes during senior year for attendance funding. If a student is not planning to graduate early, acceleration may put the student ahead of schedule for those 26 credits and end up taking classes senior year that will not count for credit. 
    • Grade level prerequisites for Advanced Placement (AP) courses must be met before a student can be enrolled in an AP course
      • Ex. a student who is successful on an English 1 CBE and accelerates into English 2 as a freshman will not be allowed into AP English (pre-requisite = Junior) as sophomore, the student will be placed in on-level English 3 class

Course acceleration flow chart