Generally, more challenge is better than less. We encourage all students to participate in Advanced Placement (AP) and/or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) based on their individual learning needs and strengths. AP Program courses are offered on all LISD high school campuses, while the IB DP is only offered at Leander HS  and Vandegrift HS. 

AP & IB Programs

Both the AP and the IB programs provide students with academic challenge while preparing them for college. Students may have the opportunity to earn college credit by taking course exams. Note: awarding of credit type is determined by each college campus. The College Board and the International Baccalaureate websites offer detailed information regarding the AP Program and the IB DP.

In high school, LISD students may participate in Advanced courses in mathematics, science, social studies and English. These courses are intentionally designed with instructional strategies that aim to prepare students for the challenge of both AP and IB coursework. Ninth and 10th grade Advanced courses are vertically aligned with Leander ISD’s AP and/or IB courses in 11th and 12th grades. Students may select from a variety of courses in mathematics, science, social studies, English, world languages and fine arts.

AP Capstone

AP Capstone is a College Board program offered at every LISD high school campus. As part of the AP Capstone Program, the AP Seminar and AP Research courses allow students the ability to explore specific academic interests not tied to a content area. Students who complete the two-year program requirements can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP exams receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.


LISD offers an additional advanced program called OnRamps. OnRamps is a Dual Enrollment Program through the University of Texas offering students rigorous courses aligned with college expectations. LISD offers an Advanced Pre-Calculus course that allows students to earn both high school and university credit. Note, course offerings vary at each high school. Check with your campus to learn more.


AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a college and career readiness system designed to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges. Although AVID serves all students with its high-yield instructional strategies embedded across the core content coursework, the AVID Elective focuses to support students who apply and are accepted to take part in a course that will build study skills, collaboration abilities, and support a college-going mindset. The formula is simple – raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge.

More information on AVID

College Entrance Testing

LISD offers the SAT School Day to all juniors, PSAT/NMSQT school day testing to all sophomores and seniors, and optional PSAT 8/9 Saturday testing for freshman. Students are encouraged to take the ACT during a Saturday testing opportunity as needed.

Homeschooled students may test for PSAT/NMSQT at the test site designated for their zoned LISD high school home campus if they register by Wednesday, September 7, 2022 for our October 25, 2022 test date. To register for testing, complete the PSAT/NMSQT Exam Registration for Homeschool Students form before the September 7, 2022 registration deadline. The high school campus your student is zoned to attend will be in contact with more information the week prior to the October 25, 2022 test date.

Exam for Acceleration

According to Texas State Board of Education rules, school districts must offer Examinations for Acceleration (EA) at every grade level and for every subject area offered in grades K-12. Exam for Acceleration allows Leander ISD students who have mastered the content and skills of a particular grade level or course without direct instruction to advance to the next level so they will be more appropriately challenged. When given at designated times in the district, these exams are available at no cost to eligible students. For more information, please contact the campus counselors. To help schools serve this mandate, the University of Texas and Texas Tech University Distance Education Centers offer a wide array of exams for grades K-12. Leander ISD uses these resources to ensure standardization and objectivity of the exams. For more information, please contact your campus counselors.

More information on Exam for Acceleration

Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented students are encouraged to explore their passions and develop their strengths through the wide array of high school course available at all LISD campuses. Academically gifted and talented learners should consider enrolling in the IB program at Vandegrift or Leander high schools. All high schools offer Advanced Placement coursework, and many include the AP Capstone Diploma Program. High School GT are students are automatically placed in Advanced English courses in 9th and 10th grades. Students may also access the QUEST-G/T Lab, which is designed to meet individual student’s needs and interests, including independent study. Teachers of high school Advanced courses and AP and IB courses are required to be GT trained. These teachers are equipped to help support GT learners needs. Additionally, the QUEST-G/T teachers are available for support throughout the high school years.

More information on QUEST-G/T