Third option home school associations are under the authority of the South Carolina Department of Education (SC DOE). The SC DOE chooses the standards that govern what material must be covered to call a class college prep or honors for public school classes. PHEA has never dictated what curriculum people must use. We firmly believe that the parents have the right and responsibility to research and pick the best curriculum for their students. Also, we do not check all the different curricula against the SC standards to see if they meet the college prep (CP) level. Generally, we take the information parents give us on what they covered and what level it is when it comes to CP. So a parent may use any high school level text book and call it CP.
Many families want honors credit to help increase their student's GPAs for scholarships. The PHEA staff has talked it over many times, and the only fair standard we see is to use the SC State DOE standards on what constitutes a CP class to then define an honors class (This is fair, as homeschoolers are competing for SC DOE scholarship money, so their standards are the one we should use.).
Many parents have called or emailed to ask us if we would tell them what math books count as honors. The problem with listing books as honors is that the designation is deceptive. If a book is honors, must the student cover the whole book? Every lesson? Every problem of every lesson? If they do not do all the problems and lessons in the book, when does it stop being honors and become college prep? I know in the public school system, there are math books that are approved for the schools to use. High School A may use Forester as their honors book and Pearson as their college prep book. High School B may choose the exact opposite. They are both correct, and their honors course can be designated as “honors” no matter which book they use. It is what they cover from the book that makes the class honors.
To determine honors level, essentially, the parents have to look through the state standard on the class they are planning to cover (say, Algebra 2). There are very specifically defined concepts that must be covered for it to be considered a college prep class. The wording for what constitutes an honors class (from the State Department website) reads:
“The requirements for honors courses are greater than for college prep courses. Textbooks and/or other course materials must be differentiated and more rigorous than those used in college prep courses. An honors course must have a published syllabus that verifies rigor that is sufficiently beyond the college prep or tech prep requirements.”
After comparing your text book to the college prep level requirements, you then determine if there is more in your text book that will be enough to bump it up to the honors level. It is not easy, but this is the process that must be done to determine what must be covered in order for the book/class to be considered honors level.
We are providing the current SC state standards as a tool for you to use in determining whether your course is an Honors level class. You are not required to meet these standards for College Prep but must exceed them for Honors level.
Following are the current South Carolina state standards for classes. They issue one standard document for each subject area. To find the class you are looking for, download the document for the subject area and scan the table of contents until you find the specific class, then scroll to that page.
Page 97 of the World Language standards shows the correlation of proficiency level to course level.