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. Learn more about our IB Diploma Programme: LISD IB DP Webinar and presentation slides.

All high school campuses offer AP exams to students for a fee. Homeschooled students wishing to take AP exams at the high school campus they are zoned to attend in LISD should check with the campus Dean of Instruction for exams offered, registration deadlines, and test dates: Cedar Park High School, Glenn High School, Leander High School, Rouse High School, Vandegrift High School, and Vista Ridge High School.

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 Diploma

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.

AVID – For Possibility!

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, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple—raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge.  AVID students have the desire to attend college and the willingness to work hard. AVID students enroll in AP/IB and/or Advanced courses so they can be on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.

AVID Elective students enroll in at least one of their school’s most challenging classes, such as Advanced Placement® and Advanced, and also enroll in the AVID Elective. For one period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and asking probing questions, get academic help from peers and college and adult tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. As members of the AVID elective self‐images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students. The AVID elective is open to any student with the determination!

More information on AVID

College Entrance Testing

LISD offers the SAT School Day to all juniors each spring and the PSAT/NMSQT school day to all sophomores and juniors each fall. LISD encourages students to access resources from College Board to learn more about the SAT Suite of Assessments.

Students are encouraged to take the ACT during a Saturday testing opportunity in the junior year or during the summer between junior and senior years. Students should compare the ACT score to the SAT score to make a plan to improve scores for college entrance and college scholarship opportunities. Always check entrance and scholarship score requirements with the college(s) to determine score(s) needed.

Homeschooled students may test for PSAT/NMSQT at the test site designated for their zoned LISD high school home campus. The deadline to register for the PSAT/NMSQT testing for 2023 is Friday, September 6, 2024 for the district’s Thursday, October 17, 2024 test date. To register for testing, complete the PSAT/NMSQT Exam Registration for Homeschool Students form before the September 6, 2024 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 17, 2024 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 courses 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. GT student may be stacked into QUEST sections of Advanced English. Students may also request the QUEST-G/T Lab, which is designed to meet individual student’s needs and interests, including independent study when the array of learning options available at high schools do not meet their individual learning needs. Consultation with the high school counselor is required to determine best placement and schedule options available. Teachers of high school core content Advanced, AP and IB courses are required to be GT trained. These teachers are equipped to help support GT learners needs along with the high school counseling staff.

More information on QUEST-G/T