At Bixby High School, students have at least 19 Advanced Placement courses available, including four physics options, three art classes, and a slate of others.

Those A.P. classes can boost students’ grade-point average above a coveted 4.0 because in some districts, such as Bixby, the classes are worth five or even six points. Students can also earn college credit by scoring well on the final exam. 

Bixby, a suburban high school with 2,000 students, is nine miles from Liberty High School in Mounds, with a student count of 152. At Liberty, no A.P. classes are being taught. Principal Trina Evans said the school offers a few, but didn’t have any students sign up. 

To meet a new state law requiring a minimum of four A.P. classes, Evans said they’ll try to offer A.P. biology and history in person, and a handful of other courses through an online platform.  

“I understand the desire and the wish for our students to have these opportunities, but what’s challenging about it, in a school our size … offering four A.P. classes might not be what our student population needs,” Evans said. 

By the 2024-25 school year, all of Oklahoma’s 471 public high schools will be required to offer at least four A.P. courses. 

Only a quarter of high schools met that bar last school year, according to an Oklahoma Watch analysis of data from the College Board, which runs A.P. 

Half didn’t have any A.P. classes at all. 

Schools with the most courses are in urban and suburban schools. Schools with few or no A.P. offerings are more likely to be in rural communities. 

Rep. Rhonda Baker

Those inequitable opportunities are what Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, wanted to address with the law, which she proposed. It passed in 2020, giving school leaders several years to scale up A.P. offerings. Baker, a former A.P. teacher, said she knows rural districts often struggle to hire enough A.P. teachers, but encourages them to use online programs to help fill those gaps. 

“Just because you live in a rural community, it should not eliminate you from having access to really great courses, especially if you want to take them,” Baker said. 

A.P. was created in the 1950s to provide an academic challenge to a small, elite group of high school students; the program expanded significantly starting in the 2000s to close achievement gaps and improve college readiness. Now, the courses reach more than 2.6 million high school students nationwide. 

The courses are more rigorous than a typical high school class and on par with college-level work. But the most crucial difference is the end-of-course exam. Students who score 3 or higher (on a scale of 1 to 5) can receive college credit for the class, depending on the college or university they attend. 

To meet the new state requirement, schools can offer A.P. in a traditional classroom setting, partner with a nearby school district or technology center, or offer courses through an online provider. 

SchoolCityNumber of AP Courses
Ada High SchoolAda13.0
Altus Senior High SchoolAltus11.0
Ardmore High SchoolArdmore6.0
Bartlesville Senior High SchoolBartlesville20.0
Berryhill High SchoolTulsa4.0
Bethany High SchoolBethany10.0
Bethel High SchoolShawnee5.0
Bishop Kelley High SchoolTulsa35.0
Bishop McGuinness Catholic High SchoolOklahoma City26.0
Bixby High SchoolBixby19.0
Blanchard High SchoolBlanchard4.0
Booker T Washington High SchoolTulsa32.0
Broken Arrow High SchoolBroken Arrow32.0
Broken Bow High SchoolBroken Bow5.0
Cache High SchoolCache6.0
Canadian Valley Technology El RenoEl Reno4.0
Caney Valley High SchoolRamona6.0
Capitol Hill High SchoolOklahoma City19.0
Carl Albert High SchoolOklahoma City12.0
Casady SchoolOklahoma City19.0
Cascia Hall Preparatory SchoolTulsa23.0
Catoosa High SchoolCatoosa7.0
Central High SchoolTulsa7.0
Charles Page High SchoolSand Springs11.0
Chickasha High SchoolChickasha6.0
Chisholm High SchoolEnid4.0
Choctaw High SchoolChoctaw13.0
Chouteau High SchoolChouteau6.0
Claremore High SchoolClaremore15.0
Classen School of Advanced StudiesOklahoma City27.0
Clinton High SchoolClinton9.0
Collinsville High SchoolCollinsville5.0
Community Christian SchoolNorman7.0
Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High SchoolOklahoma City8.0
Crossings Christian SchoolOklahoma City19.0
Cushing High SchoolCushing4.0
Dale Senior High SchoolDale4.0
Deer Creek High SchoolEdmond19.0
Del City High SchoolOklahoma City10.0
Dove Science Academy High School TulsaTulsa10.0
Dove Science Academy High School-OKCOklahoma City10.0
Durant High SchoolDurant6.0
East Central High SchoolTulsa25.0
Edison Preparatory High SchoolTulsa19.0
Edmond Memorial High SchoolEdmond38.0
Edmond North High SchoolEdmond34.0
Edmond Santa Fe High SchoolEdmond36.0
Eisenhower High SchoolLawton32.0
El Reno High SchoolEl Reno7.0
Elgin High SchoolElgin4.0
Elk City High SchoolElk City6.0
Enid High SchoolEnid21.0
Epic Charter SchoolOklahoma City17.0
Fort Gibson High SchoolFort Gibson8.0
Francis Tuttle Technology CenterOklahoma City37.0
Glenpool High SchoolGlenpool13.0
Great Plains Technology CenterLawton4.0
Grove High SchoolGrove10.0
Guthrie Senior High SchoolGuthrie9.0
Guymon High SchoolGuymon4.0
Harding Charter Preparatory High SchoolOklahoma City19.0
Harding Fine Arts AcademyOklahoma City13.0
Harrah High SchoolHarrah8.0
Heritage Hall SchoolOklahoma City26.0
Holland Hall SchoolTulsa6.0
Horizon: Digitally Enhanced CampusOklahoma City11.0
Hugo High SchoolHugo5.0
Jenks High SchoolJenks47.0
John Marshall High SchoolOklahoma City12.0
Jones High SchoolJones6.0
Kiamichi Technical Center IdabelIdabel5.0
Kiamichi Technology Center PoteauPoteau4.0
Kingfisher High SchoolKingfisher4.0
KIPP Tulsa University Preparatory High SchoolTulsa9.0
Lawton Academy of Arts And SciencesLawton4.0
Lawton High SchoolLawton17.0
Lincoln Christian SchoolTulsa6.0
MacArthur High SchoolLawton20.0
Madill High SchoolMadill4.0
McAlester High SchoolMcAlester8.0
McCurtain High SchoolMcCurtain4.0
McLain High School for Science and TechnologyTulsa6.0
Memorial High SchoolTulsa17.0
Meridian Technology CenterStillwater7.0
Metro Christian AcademyTulsa7.0
Metro Technology Center – Springlake CampusOklahoma City11.0
Miami High SchoolMiami9.0
Midwest City High SchoolOklahoma City8.0
Mingo Valley Christian SchoolTulsa5.0
Moore High SchoolMoore14.0
Mount Saint Mary High SchoolOklahoma City22.0
Muldrow High SchoolMuldrow6.0
Muskogee High SchoolMuskogee11.0
Mustang High SchoolYukon27.0
Norman High SchoolNorman38.0
Norman North High SchoolNorman29.0
North Rock Creek High SchoolShawnee8.0
Northeast Technology Center AftonAfton6.0
Northwest Classen High SchoolOklahoma City16.0
Oklahoma Bible AcademyEnid9.0
Oklahoma Christian SchoolEdmond14.0
Oklahoma Connections AcademyBartlesville10.0
Oklahoma Home SchoolOklahoma City8.0
Oklahoma School of Science And MathOklahoma City15.0
Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy High SchoolOklahoma City5.0
Okmulgee High SchoolOkmulgee5.0
Oologah High SchoolOologah5.0
Owasso High SchoolOwasso27.0
Pauls Valley High SchoolPauls Valley6.0
Perry High SchoolPerry4.0
Piedmont High SchoolPiedmont13.0
Plainview High SchoolArdmore8.0
Ponca City Senior High SchoolPonca City10.0
Putnam City High SchoolOklahoma City24.0
Putnam City North High SchoolOklahoma City17.0
Putnam City West High SchoolOklahoma City23.0
Rejoice Christian Middle-High SchoolOwasso5.0
Roland Senior High SchoolRoland4.0
Sapulpa High SchoolSapulpa12.0
Seminole High SchoolSeminole7.0
Shawnee High SchoolShawnee9.0
Skiatook High SchoolSkiatook6.0
Southeast High SchoolOklahoma City12.0
Southmoore High SchoolMoore24.0
Sperry Senior High SchoolSperry4.0
Star Spencer Middle High SchoolSpencer4.0
Stillwater High SchoolStillwater18.0
Summit Christian AcademyBroken Arrow4.0
Tahlequah Senior High SchoolTahlequah4.0
Tecumseh High SchoolTecumseh7.0
Tulsa Honor Academy High SchoolTulsa14.0
Tulsa School of Arts and SciencesTulsa5.0
Tulsa Technical Center LemleyTulsa8.0
U.S. Grant High SchoolOklahoma City16.0
Union High SchoolTulsa29.0
Victory Christian SchoolTulsa8.0
Vinita High SchoolVinita5.0
Wagoner High SchoolWagoner8.0
Watonga High SchoolWatonga4.0
Western Heights Senior High SchoolOklahoma City4.0
Westmoore High SchoolOklahoma City25.0
Westville High SchoolWestville4.0
Will Rogers College Middle and High SchoolTulsa25.0
Woodward High SchoolWoodward11.0
Yukon High SchoolYukon21.0
Source: College Board, which administers the AP program.

Horizon, an online learning platform under the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, offered 11 A.P. courses last year, according to College Board data. It added three this year and will continue to expand next year, said Lisa Daniels, director of Horizons. Most are free for Oklahoma schools and include the coursework and teacher. 

“It’s a struggle for rural schools to find teachers,” Daniels said. “Or they may only have one student (taking an A.P. class). That’s something we can handle.” 

Staffing is the biggest issue at the 275-student Morris High School, which has one A.P. class this year taught by the school’s only A.P. certified teacher, said Superintendent Chris Karch. Sixteen students this year enrolled in the A.P. World History class. 

“We don’t have the staff for more,” Karch said.

Morris, 45 miles south of Tulsa in eastern Oklahoma, will use an online platform to meet the minimum next year. Even so, students may need in-person support from a teacher, Karch said.

Some rural school leaders said they offer A.P. courses but students don’t take them. That’s because many prefer concurrent enrollment, where earning college credit doesn’t hinge on a single high-stakes test and instead is based on performance throughout the course. 

State funding covers the cost of tuition for high school juniors and seniors taking concurrent classes, up to a certain number of hours, and some districts cover the fees. 

“Students here can take college classes for free and know if they pass that class, they’re going to get college credit,” said Doug Tolson, principal of Alex High School, 45 miles south of Oklahoma City. 

In Tolson’s 30 years at the district, very few students have chosen to take A.P. classes, he said.

Baker, the state representative, said the most important part is ensuring students in all schools at least have the choice. 

“I don’t want the argument to be, ‘Look, our kids are behind, we shouldn’t worry about advanced placement,’” Baker said. “If a child is willing to put the effort in and the work to be able to be successful at something like this, we’ve got to be able to give them the opportunity.”

Jennifer Palmer has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2016 and covers education. Contact her at (405) 761-0093 or Follow her on Twitter @jpalmerOKC.

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