Academic Rigor

Academic Rigor
young boy with a green mask sitting at a desk

The percentage of high school students taking at least one Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Running Start, CTE Dual Credit or College in the High School course..

Tacoma Public Schools sees the potential in every student and believes all students can be successful. That’s why the district has automatically enrolled qualified high school students into advanced programs or courses beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

To help reach the district’s academic excellence strategic goal in which all students will perform at or above grade level, and to comply with a state senate bill, the school board adopted the Academic Acceleration and Rigor Policy in June 2013.

Only the second district in the state to implement auto-enrollment into advanced programs ― also referred to as Academic Acceleration ― this will be a big step to further foster a college-going culture and prepare every student for life after high school.

TPS is committed to building equity in all schools. By increasing our cultural awareness of the students we serve, our teachers can effectively implement equity-based and culturally responsive instructional strategies that help all students succeed.

Time of Year Benchmark is Viewed What's Displayed by Benchmark
Between the start of the new school year, and before the end of 1st semester Only displays previous school years’ annual data
After the end of 1st semester, but before the end of 2nd semester The default view displays only 1st-semester data for all years (allows a common mid-year time frame for comparison)
After the end of the 2nd semester, but before the start of the new school year The default view displays annual data for all years.

Benefits for students enrolled in advanced programs

  • More likely to graduate high school and attend college
  • Better prepared for college coursework
  • Potential to earn college credit
  • Opportunity to advance further and faster
  • Competitive advantage in college admission and scholarship processes
  • More likely to graduate from college

Source: The College Board

TPS high school advanced programs

These programs offer the opportunity to earn college credit:

  • Advanced Placement®: The College Board’s AP program enables academically-prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Available at Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Oakland, SAMI, SOTA, Stadium, and Wilson high schools.
  • International Baccalaureate®: IB is a non-profit educational foundation with four programs to help students develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Available at Foss High School.
  • Running Start: Running Start provides qualified 11th and 12th-grade students an option to attend certain higher education institutions while earning high school and college/university credit. Available for students at Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Oakland, SAMI, SOTA, Stadium, and Wilson high schools.
  • College in the High School: CIHS provides college-level academic courses in high schools for qualified high school students. Students enrolled in CIHS are officially enrolled in a dual-credit high school/college or university course. Students must meet college-specific course requirements in order to earn both high school and college credit. Available at Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Oakland, SAMI, SOTA, Stadium, and Wilson high schools.
  • Career & Technical Education Dual Credit: All high school CTE courses in Tacoma Public Schools are articulated for college credit at community/technical colleges and all students are eligible to earn these high school and college credits at no cost to the student or family. Course offerings, which vary by school, ranging from accounting to welding. Students are required to earn a “C” grade or better to qualify for CTE Dual Credit. CTE Dual Credit is available at all TPS high schools.

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Understanding the data

This benchmark displays the percentage of students by selected grade level taking one or more rigor classes in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Running Start (RS) or College in the High School (CIHS).

Because a school year includes two calendar years, such as 2014-2015, the school year on the benchmark chart is identified by the second calendar year. For example, the 2014-2015 school year is identified as 2015 on the chart.​​

The data may be viewed by district, region, school, and race. It can be further filtered by gender, English Language Learner status, free and reduced lunch status, and special education status.​

Annual Results

  • 2016: 64.9%
  • 2015: 59.9%
  • 2014: 42.3%
  • 2013: 32.9%


  • The number of students enrolled in a course of rigor is divided by the total number of students enrolled in the specified grade level.

Data Retrieval Schedule

Course data is maintained in the student information system and is loaded to the data warehouse nightly.​

Input From

Date warehouse

Legacy report

Our current reports show data from the 2018 school year and beyond using improved reporting tools. Legacy reports show older data using older tools.

Open legacy report