Honors Level Coursework

Overview & Background 

In response to the field requesting updated guidance and to address current standards and instructional best practices, the State Board of Education amended its Course for Credit policy CCRE-001, in July of 2023, to include a definition of honors level courses and a review of courses based on the adopted Honors Level Course Guide. The Honors Level Course Guide will better support Public School Units (PSUs) in the development, implementation, and evaluation of honors level courses. Full implementation of this policy is expected by the end of the 2024-2025 school year.

What Makes an Honors Level Course Honors?

Tab/Accordion Items

  • Independent investigation  
  • Intentional differentiation 
  • Inquiry and connections 
  • Depth and complexity 
  • Collaboration 
  • Increased pace

  • Additional assessments  
  • One size fits all  
  • Longer papers 
  • Only more work


Importance of Honors Level Courses  

Honors level courses provide students with opportunities for enhanced rigor, depth, and complexity. Students who participate in honors level courses develop critical-thinking skills, take ownership for their learning, and become creative problem-solvers and collaborators. In 2022, 84% of all high school graduates successfully completed at least one honors course while in high school.

Honors Level Course Guide 

This Honors Level Course Guide is intended to provide guidance for creating, implementing, and evaluating high quality honors level courses. It is recommended that personnel within each PSU who are responsible for managing and teaching honors level courses be familiar with this guide and use it as a reference for honors courses. The Honors Level Course Criteria should be used internally to develop and evaluate individual honors courses and provide feedback where needed. 

Honors Level Course Guide

Honors Level Course Development and Evaluation Tool

The Honors Level Course Development and Implementation Tool has been developed for use at the district and school level. Teachers and designated instructional leaders within each PSU should work collaboratively to ensure the requirements within the Honors Level Course Development and Implementation Tool are consistently, equitably, and fairly upheld for each honors level course. 

Honors Level Course Development and Evaluation Tool

Honors Implementation Planning Tool

The Honors Implementation Planning Tool may be used by districts as they start planning how to begin the process of implementing the Honors Policy added to CCRE-001. This tool is an option districts may use to guide initial conversations regarding how to gather an honors team and next steps to take. 

Honors Implementation Planning Tool

Honors Level Course Guide PSU Attestation Statement 

The Honors Level Course Guide PSU Attestation Statement is a self monitoring tool that should also be used and housed internally, at the district level, to ensure fidelity and transparency among all stakeholders. The PSU Attestation Statement can also be found on the last page of the Honors Level Course Guide.  

PSU Attestation Statement

Support from NCDPI

Overview Webinar of Honors Level Coursework 

Office Hours

If you have any comments or questions, please contact:
Dr. Crissy Brown, Office of Advanced Learning and Gifted Education, Kelly Schultz, Office of Academic Standards, or Amy Schroeder, Career and Technical Education (CTE)