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.
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.
|School||City||Number of AP Courses|
|Ada High School||Ada||13.0|
|Altus Senior High School||Altus||11.0|
|Ardmore High School||Ardmore||6.0|
|Bartlesville Senior High School||Bartlesville||20.0|
|Berryhill High School||Tulsa||4.0|
|Bethany High School||Bethany||10.0|
|Bethel High School||Shawnee||5.0|
|Bishop Kelley High School||Tulsa||35.0|
|Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School||Oklahoma City||26.0|
|Bixby High School||Bixby||19.0|
|Blanchard High School||Blanchard||4.0|
|Booker T Washington High School||Tulsa||32.0|
|Broken Arrow High School||Broken Arrow||32.0|
|Broken Bow High School||Broken Bow||5.0|
|Cache High School||Cache||6.0|
|Canadian Valley Technology El Reno||El Reno||4.0|
|Caney Valley High School||Ramona||6.0|
|Capitol Hill High School||Oklahoma City||19.0|
|Carl Albert High School||Oklahoma City||12.0|
|Casady School||Oklahoma City||19.0|
|Cascia Hall Preparatory School||Tulsa||23.0|
|Catoosa High School||Catoosa||7.0|
|Central High School||Tulsa||7.0|
|Charles Page High School||Sand Springs||11.0|
|Chickasha High School||Chickasha||6.0|
|Chisholm High School||Enid||4.0|
|Choctaw High School||Choctaw||13.0|
|Chouteau High School||Chouteau||6.0|
|Claremore High School||Claremore||15.0|
|Classen School of Advanced Studies||Oklahoma City||27.0|
|Clinton High School||Clinton||9.0|
|Collinsville High School||Collinsville||5.0|
|Community Christian School||Norman||7.0|
|Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School||Oklahoma City||8.0|
|Crossings Christian School||Oklahoma City||19.0|
|Cushing High School||Cushing||4.0|
|Dale Senior High School||Dale||4.0|
|Deer Creek High School||Edmond||19.0|
|Del City High School||Oklahoma City||10.0|
|Dove Science Academy High School Tulsa||Tulsa||10.0|
|Dove Science Academy High School-OKC||Oklahoma City||10.0|
|Durant High School||Durant||6.0|
|East Central High School||Tulsa||25.0|
|Edison Preparatory High School||Tulsa||19.0|
|Edmond Memorial High School||Edmond||38.0|
|Edmond North High School||Edmond||34.0|
|Edmond Santa Fe High School||Edmond||36.0|
|Eisenhower High School||Lawton||32.0|
|El Reno High School||El Reno||7.0|
|Elgin High School||Elgin||4.0|
|Elk City High School||Elk City||6.0|
|Enid High School||Enid||21.0|
|Epic Charter School||Oklahoma City||17.0|
|Fort Gibson High School||Fort Gibson||8.0|
|Francis Tuttle Technology Center||Oklahoma City||37.0|
|Glenpool High School||Glenpool||13.0|
|Great Plains Technology Center||Lawton||4.0|
|Grove High School||Grove||10.0|
|Guthrie Senior High School||Guthrie||9.0|
|Guymon High School||Guymon||4.0|
|Harding Charter Preparatory High School||Oklahoma City||19.0|
|Harding Fine Arts Academy||Oklahoma City||13.0|
|Harrah High School||Harrah||8.0|
|Heritage Hall School||Oklahoma City||26.0|
|Holland Hall School||Tulsa||6.0|
|Horizon: Digitally Enhanced Campus||Oklahoma City||11.0|
|Hugo High School||Hugo||5.0|
|Jenks High School||Jenks||47.0|
|John Marshall High School||Oklahoma City||12.0|
|Jones High School||Jones||6.0|
|Kiamichi Technical Center Idabel||Idabel||5.0|
|Kiamichi Technology Center Poteau||Poteau||4.0|
|Kingfisher High School||Kingfisher||4.0|
|KIPP Tulsa University Preparatory High School||Tulsa||9.0|
|Lawton Academy of Arts And Sciences||Lawton||4.0|
|Lawton High School||Lawton||17.0|
|Lincoln Christian School||Tulsa||6.0|
|MacArthur High School||Lawton||20.0|
|Madill High School||Madill||4.0|
|McAlester High School||McAlester||8.0|
|McCurtain High School||McCurtain||4.0|
|McLain High School for Science and Technology||Tulsa||6.0|
|Memorial High School||Tulsa||17.0|
|Meridian Technology Center||Stillwater||7.0|
|Metro Christian Academy||Tulsa||7.0|
|Metro Technology Center – Springlake Campus||Oklahoma City||11.0|
|Miami High School||Miami||9.0|
|Midwest City High School||Oklahoma City||8.0|
|Mingo Valley Christian School||Tulsa||5.0|
|Moore High School||Moore||14.0|
|Mount Saint Mary High School||Oklahoma City||22.0|
|Muldrow High School||Muldrow||6.0|
|Muskogee High School||Muskogee||11.0|
|Mustang High School||Yukon||27.0|
|Norman High School||Norman||38.0|
|Norman North High School||Norman||29.0|
|North Rock Creek High School||Shawnee||8.0|
|Northeast Technology Center Afton||Afton||6.0|
|Northwest Classen High School||Oklahoma City||16.0|
|Oklahoma Bible Academy||Enid||9.0|
|Oklahoma Christian School||Edmond||14.0|
|Oklahoma Connections Academy||Bartlesville||10.0|
|Oklahoma Home School||Oklahoma City||8.0|
|Oklahoma School of Science And Math||Oklahoma City||15.0|
|Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy High School||Oklahoma City||5.0|
|Okmulgee High School||Okmulgee||5.0|
|Oologah High School||Oologah||5.0|
|Owasso High School||Owasso||27.0|
|Pauls Valley High School||Pauls Valley||6.0|
|Perry High School||Perry||4.0|
|Piedmont High School||Piedmont||13.0|
|Plainview High School||Ardmore||8.0|
|Ponca City Senior High School||Ponca City||10.0|
|Putnam City High School||Oklahoma City||24.0|
|Putnam City North High School||Oklahoma City||17.0|
|Putnam City West High School||Oklahoma City||23.0|
|Rejoice Christian Middle-High School||Owasso||5.0|
|Roland Senior High School||Roland||4.0|
|Sapulpa High School||Sapulpa||12.0|
|Seminole High School||Seminole||7.0|
|Shawnee High School||Shawnee||9.0|
|Skiatook High School||Skiatook||6.0|
|Southeast High School||Oklahoma City||12.0|
|Southmoore High School||Moore||24.0|
|Sperry Senior High School||Sperry||4.0|
|Star Spencer Middle High School||Spencer||4.0|
|Stillwater High School||Stillwater||18.0|
|Summit Christian Academy||Broken Arrow||4.0|
|Tahlequah Senior High School||Tahlequah||4.0|
|Tecumseh High School||Tecumseh||7.0|
|Tulsa Honor Academy High School||Tulsa||14.0|
|Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences||Tulsa||5.0|
|Tulsa Technical Center Lemley||Tulsa||8.0|
|U.S. Grant High School||Oklahoma City||16.0|
|Union High School||Tulsa||29.0|
|Victory Christian School||Tulsa||8.0|
|Vinita High School||Vinita||5.0|
|Wagoner High School||Wagoner||8.0|
|Watonga High School||Watonga||4.0|
|Western Heights Senior High School||Oklahoma City||4.0|
|Westmoore High School||Oklahoma City||25.0|
|Westville High School||Westville||4.0|
|Will Rogers College Middle and High School||Tulsa||25.0|
|Woodward High School||Woodward||11.0|
|Yukon High School||Yukon||21.0|
|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.”