An Explanation of Academic Levels

Advanced Classes

Advanced classes are MHUSD versions of regular classes that go into material in more depth, require additional reading, or generally are more demanding than the regular CP (College Prep) class.  Often these classes will require summer reading prior to the start of school.  These classes are not “weighted,” … i.e. students will not receive additional credit for taking an Advanced class.

Honors Classes

Honor classes are demanding, advanced high school level classes, recognized as such by the University of California. Honors Classes are “weighted,” meaning students earning a “C” or better grade will receive an additional grade point. (The maximum possible grade point for an honors class is “5” instead of “4.”)

Advanced Placement Classes

Advanced Placement classes are based on college curricula and require college level work. For detailed information about AP classes, see the collegeboard website.  AP classes have the potential to give students many advantages as they enter college:

1.    Because they cover college level material, AP classes give students a sense of the rigor of a college level class. Students have the opportunity to develop the appropriate level of study habits and analysis for college prior to starting college and thus have a better chance of making an easy transition from high school.

2.    The AP exam gives students a grade between 1 and 5.  “3” is considered passing.  Most colleges will give students with a passing grade (of 3 or higher) credit for having taken a college level class.  At many colleges, students with a higher number of college credits entering college will receive higher priority registration, enabling them to register earlier and thus have a better chance of obtaining the classes they need.  This is an important consideration at colleges that may have impacted majors or general distribution requirements, as it gives students a better chance of graduating in four years.

3.    At many colleges, a “4” or “5” on an AP exam will satisfy a general distribution or pre-major requirement.  (For example, at the UCs, a student receiving a “4” in AP English Literature & Composition will only need to take one of the two general distribution English classes required; while a student receiving a “5” will be considered as having satisfied both English requirements.)  Students should carefully review college websites or go to AP Credit Policy Information to see what general distribution or pre-major requirements their AP test scores satisfy.

Part of the experience of a college level class is the AP Exam:  each AP course has a corresponding AP Exam that schools worldwide administer in May.  AP Exams are an essential part of the AP experience and provide you –and colleges and universities—with a standardized measure of what you’ve accomplished in the AP classroom.  College admissions offices and many high schools expect that students enrolled in an AP course will take the AP Exam at the end of the course.  The College Board does not require students to take an AP course before taking an AP Exam.  As described above, students scoring well on an AP exam may receive college credit for the class, although college policies vary.

Live Oak students taking AP classes and receiving a “C” or better will receive a “weighted” grade (with the maximum possible grade point for an AP class being “5” instead of “4”).   Students taking an Advanced Placement course at Live Oak High School MUST take the Advanced Placement Exam in May in order to receive the weighted grade point for the class.  (The cost of each AP exam is $84.  If students cannot afford the cost of the test, scholarships are available.)  For more information see the collegeboard website.

MHUSD Board policy BP5121 / AR5121 states:

Advanced Placement / Honors Courses (Grades 9-12)


The district wishes to encourage students to take advanced placement (AP) and honors courses.  AP courses are developed by the College Board and approved by the University of California system. Honors courses are developed by the district and approved by the University of California.  Because of the extra work involved, the evaluation system shall be weighted to reflect the more rigorous nature of these courses.  Grades received in these courses will be counted on a weighted scale.  All students who take an advanced placement (AP) course are expected to take the related College Board Advanced Placement Exam to receive the weighted grade point.  The advanced placement course will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Following is the weighted scale for honors courses and advanced placement courses for which a student takes the related advanced placement exam: A= 5 grade points, B = 4, C = 3, D = 1, F = 0.

Course Registry