CBHE-Recommended College Preparatory
High School Core Curriculum
Updated September 5, 2013
The Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE), the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE), Missouri higher education institutions, and the Missouri K-12 community share a common interest in promoting student preparation as a foundation of enrollment, retention, and success in Missouri postsecondary institutions.
Accordingly, with collaboration across educational sectors, the CBHE has established a recommended 24-unit high school core curriculum guideline for students who plan to enroll in a Missouri college or university. The CBHE 24-unit high school core curriculum is designed to prepare high school students for access to and retention/success in collegiate-level work. Students are expected to demonstrate competency in high school core content. Failure to do so may result in placement in developmental/remedial coursework at an additional time and expense to the student.
The CBHE encourages governing boards at Missouri's higher education institutions to incorporate the 24-unit high school core curriculum into admissions processes for all first-time freshmen; however, admissions and placement decisions are ultimately made at the institutional level. Requirements vary for admission to Missouri institutions. For example, foreign language study is required for admission to some institutions. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss admissions requirements and placement practices with staff at Missouri institutions in which they may be interested in enrolling. The CBHE Recommended College Preparatory High School Curriculum is recommended for full implementation beginning with the Missouri college graduation class of 2018 (entering as college freshman in the Fall of 2014).
English/Language Arts - 4 units
Social Studies - 3 units
Mathematics - 4 units*
Science - 3 units
Fine Arts - 1 unit
Additional Coursework - 3 units **
Electives - 6 units ***
* At least one mathematics course should be taken each year. It is particularly important that students take a mathematics course in grade 12.
**Missouri public high school students are required by the State Board of Education to complete units in practical arts (1), physical education (1), health education (1/2), and personal finance (1/2)
*** All students should complete at least 3 total elective units in foreign language and/or other courses within high school core content areas defined below. Two units of a single foreign language are strongly recommended.
For each high school core content area, descriptions follow that provide illustrations of coursework acceptable and unacceptable for the high school core curriculum.
English/language arts coursework (4 units) emphasizes college preparatory composition, research skills, analysis of literature, and other content of comparable or greater rigor. Speech and debate courses may be included.
Coursework not acceptable for the high school core curriculum emphasizes student publications, broadcast media, or theater.
Social studies coursework (3 units) emphasizes American history, Missouri government and Missouri history as required by state statute, geography/world civilizations, and other content of comparable or greater rigor.
Coursework not acceptable for the high school core curriculum emphasizes family/human development or consumer education.
Mathematics coursework (4 units) emphasizes college preparatory algebra and other content of comparable or greater rigor. Students who complete algebra prior to the freshman year would be expected to complete four additional units in grades 9-12. Students who achieve a proficiency score of 3 or 4 on the Smarter Balanced grade 11 assessment must demonstrate continued study of mathematics for the score to be considered valid in the first year of college.
Coursework that emphasizes pre-algebra, computer math/programming, consumer/basic math, or business math/accounting is not acceptable for the CBHE Recommended College Preparatory High School core curriculum.
Science coursework (3 units) emphasizes college preparatory biology, chemistry, and other content of comparable or greater rigor. Science coursework should include at least one laboratory course.
Coursework not acceptable for the high school core curriculum emphasizes general or consumer science.
- Fine arts coursework (1 unit) emphasizes visual arts, instrumental or vocal music, dance, theater, or other content of comparable or greater rigor. Critical analysis, theory, or "appreciation" courses may be included.
- Coursework not acceptable for the high school core curriculum emphasizes speech, debate, or broadcast media.