Advanced Academics and Gifted and Talented

Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP)

What is the DAP Scholars Program?

The Distinguished Achievement Program is a course of study that requires high performance beyond that usually expected of students in high school.In addition to specific course requirements, the Distinguished Achievement Program requires that all students successfully complete any combination of four advanced measures that focus on demonstrated student performance at the college level or work equivalent to that done by professionals in the arts, sciences, business, industry, or in community service. These measures are judged by external sources of evaluation.

Who are DAP Scholars?


DAP Scholars are senior students who have completed, or will complete, the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) graduation plan.

Why become a DAP Scholar?

The advantages to students for completing this more rigorous course of study are numerous.
Some of the advantages include:
  • Students are better prepared for college success.
  • Students may earn college credit while still in high school (saving college tuition payments).
  • Students participate in more rigorous courses and are more academically challenged.
  • Students develop and refine higher level thinking skills.
  • Students are able to pursue specific areas of interest in research projects.
  • Students are rewarded for school and professional success and accomplishments.
  • Students have the opportunity to network with business and community professionals.
How do students become a DAP Scholar?
  • Earn 26 credits.
  • Complete all of the requirements for the Recommended Plan.
  • Complete three credits in the same foreign language.
  • Complete four advanced measures 
    • Students, who have not completed four advanced measures prior to the spring of their senior year, will be designated as a candidate for the Distinguished Achievement Program (i.e. enrolled in appropriate coursework, working on advanced measures, and/or registered for AP exams).

How are DAP Scholar Candidates Recognized?


DAP Scholar candidates will be recognized in the senior year with a ceremony prior to graduation. During this ceremony, the DAP Scholar candidates will be recognized with an award. According to policy EIC (Local), the DAP Scholar candidates will be recognized as Distinguished Graduates. The DAP Scholar candidate Distinguished Graduates will be denoted in the commencement program with this designation.

What role do parents play in the DAP Scholars Program?

Parents play a crucial role in a student’s success in the DAP Scholars Program. In the eighth grade, each student, with the help of his or her parents and counselor, should prepare a four-year graduation plan which meets the academic requirements of the Distinguished Achievement Plan. In addition, students and parents should begin planning how to meet the advanced measures requirement. Finally, a parent’s encouragement and support are essential for student success with demanding course work and planning.

Advanced Measures
  • The measures must focus on demonstrated student performance at the college or professional level.
  • Student performance on advanced measures must be assessed through an external review process.
  • A student must achieve any combination of four of the following:
Original research/project:
  • Judged by a panel of professionals in the field that is the focus of the project; or •    An advanced measure for the Distinguished Achievement Program will only be awarded if both the semester average and the grade on the final product are 80 or higher.
  • Conducted under the direction of mentor(s) and reported to an appropriate audience; or
  • Related to the required curriculum set forth in 19 TAC §74.1 (relating to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). Original research/projects may not be used for more than two of the four advanced measures.
Test data:
  • A score of three or above on The College Board Advanced Placement examination;
  • A score on the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT/NMSQT) that qualifies a student for recognition as a Commended Scholar or higher by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation; as part of the National Hispanic Scholar Program of The College Board; or as part of the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The PSAT/NMSQT score may count as only one advanced measure regardless of the number of honors received by the student.                                                                                         
College courses:
  • A minimum three-hour course with a college grade point average of 3.0 or higher on courses that count for college credit, including tech prep programs.CTE – Articulated College Credit:
  • Articulated college credit courses may count as an advanced measure for the Distinguished Achievement Plan (DAP) if successfully completed with a grade of 80 or higher.


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