College and Career Pathways

Our nation’s failure to educate its students leaves many of them unprepared for the challenges they will face after high school, and this failure also threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy. Florida leaders have implemented comprehensive policies that create college and career pathways to best equip students for the rigors of the college classroom and the labor market.

Florida’s college and career pathways policies aim to:
• Increase students’ access to Advanced Placement, Advanced International Certificate Education, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment courses and industry-certifications during high school.
• Reward schools and teachers for student success in earning college credit and industry certifications.
• Inform teachers, parents and students about college and career options through Economic Security Reports.

Advanced Placement Success:

Florida ranks first among states in the percentage of the 2017 high school class who took an Advanced Placement exam. From 1999 to 2017, there has been an 440 percent increase in exam takers.

From 1999 to 2015, there was a 649 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students and a 695 percent increase in the number of African Americans taking an AP exam.

Florida ranks fourth among states in the percentage of the 2017 high school class who successfully completed an Advanced Placement course with a score of 3 or higher. This represents a 405 percent increase between 1999 and 2017.

Florida ranks second among states in the percentage of high school graduates who successfully completed an Advanced Placement course. During the past 10 years, the percentage of high school graduates who successfully completed an Advanced Placement course rose by 12.4 percent.

Florida students saved their families $128 million in college tuition costs by taking Advanced Placement courses while in high school.


Mastery-Based Education/Personalized Learning

Too many students graduate without the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in college or careers. Diplomas and credits based on seat time often mislead students into thinking they are ready for the challenges of college and careers.

Mastery-based education is grounded in the idea that students should progress when they demonstrate mastery of key content and skills regardless of the time spent in class or even where instruction takes place. Personalized learning tailors a student’s educational experience to meet their unique strengths, interests and needs while empowering students to play greater role in their learning.


Seminole County School District’s PSI High and Pinellas County School District’s Personalized Learning Pathway are examples of personalized learning programs.

Florida’s Pilot Program

In 2016, the Legislature created a five-year pilot program to allow school districts to design and implement personalized learning programs to meet the needs of each student.

This school year, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole County School Districts and P.Y. Yonge Developmental Research School are using one or more of the following strategies to implement personalized learning:

  • Personal learning paths that provide students with flexibility, choices of work and multiple opportunities to master the course content.
  • Mastery-based progression using scoring rubrics to evaluate a student’s mastery of content.
  • Educator-designed classes, schedules and staffing configurations that best meet their students’ individual needs.
  • Learner profiles that include the student’s strengths, goals, needs and progress.
  • Flexible learning environments that support frequent flexible grouping of students with the support of technology.

Online Course Access

Access to a high-quality education no longer needs to depend on location.  Course Access uses technology and innovative policy to offer a catalog of courses to students statewide. Families can select the best courses for their children from an online catalog of in-person, online and blended learning courses.

Florida is a nationally-recognized leader in K-12 virtual education. The Florida Online Course Catalog includes information about the 21,000 online courses offered by district virtual schools, department approved providers and Florida Virtual School – the largest state virtual school in the nation.

Florida’s online education programs provide high quality instruction and curriculum, meeting national and state standards. The programs must also meet the state’s accountability standards for academic achievement. Visit the Florida Department of Education’s Virtual Education Statistics for additional information.