vendor course approval
Below are some frequently asked questions about the vendor course approval process. Please click on the question to view related answer

The North Carolina Vendor Approval Process is intended to ensure access to a variety of high-quality, standards-based courses from vendors and providers all over the country, while lowering costs by eliminating the need for each school or LEA to separately evaluate virtual course products. The NC Vendor Course Approval Process and the North Carolina Virtual Public School are guided by both state legislation and state board policy.

First, the NC General Assembly S.L. 2011-145 states in section 7.22 (h)(2), the following:

The Director of NCVPS shall continue to ensure the following:

  1. Course quality standards are established and met.
  2. All e-learning opportunities other than virtual charter schools offered by State-funded entities to public school students are consolidated under the NCVPS program, eliminating course duplication.
  3. All courses offered through NCVPS are aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

Second, SBE Policy # GCS-M-001 (“Course for Credit”) Section 4 states the following:

An e-learning course qualifies for course credit if it meets the following requirements:

4.1 Any K-12 e-learning course taken for credit towards a diploma must first be approved for credit by the NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS).

4.2 E-learning courses offering instruction in courses included within the NC Standard Course of Study must meet the Standard Course of Study competency goals and objectives. E-learning courses offered for AP or IB credit must align with the governing bodies of the AP and IB programs.

4.3 E-learning courses offering instruction in courses not included in the Standard Course of Study curriculum must have rigor, depth and breadth comparable to courses included in the Standard Course of Study. When determining whether an e-learning course has such rigor, depth and breadth, the NCVPS shall consider whether the course meets the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and/or International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) criteria for awarding credit or is offered for credit toward a degree by a UNC system institution, an institution in the North Carolina Community College System, or a regionally accredited college.

In partnership and collaboration with the NC Department of Public Instruction’s Curriculum and Instruction Division, the goal of the NC Vendor Course Approval Process is not to limit choices, but to consolidate as many high-quality courses as possible into a menu of options for schools and LEAs to better serve the needs of all students in North Carolina.

No, all K-12 e-learning course options must go through the North Carolina Vendor Approval Process.
Requesting courses to be approved is a simple process. Vendors must submit a Request for Review Form per course needing review: http://bit.ly/VCAP-Request-for-Review. Once submitted, a detailed process to submit each course will be sent to the email address indicated on the Request for Review form.

All course are reviewed according to the standards outlined by International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) for course and teacher quality.

There are two phases for the review process. All vendor courses go through Phase 1 for course quality and teacher quality. For course quality at Phase 1, reviewers evaluate the vendor course for alignment to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study; for teacher quality at Phase 1, reviewers evaluate whether the teacher holds a valid North Carolina teaching certificate.

If a course approves at Phase 1, then the course moves to Phase 2 (Full Course Review). During Phase 2, vendors will submit documentation, artifacts, and narratives for the remaining evaluation standards (Standards B-E for Course Quality and Standards B-J for Teacher Quality--refer to the documents linked in the first paragraph to this question.

Upon review completion, the vendor will be notified whether the course has been approved or not.

If a vendor course is not approved, the vendor has the opportunity to revise areas of the course needing improvement and then resubmit documentation, artifacts, and narratives for those areas. The vendor notifies the North Carolina Vendor Course Approval Process coordinator when resubmissions have been made. Resubmissions are reviewed following the same process outlined in How are third party vendor courses reviewed? above.
Vendors may resubmit a course up to two times. After the second resubmission review, and the course still does not meet the criteria for approval, then the vendor must wait for a period of at least 90 days and then submit the entire course for review at both Phase 1 and Phase 2.
A vendor course is approved for five years.
The North Carolina Vendor Course Approval Process reviews only courses for full credit either because the student is taking the course for the first time or has failed the course previously and needs to retake the entire course. Credit Recovery courses and modular learning experiences are not eligible for review.
If an elective course has corresponding North Carolina Standard Course of Study standards, then the course is required to go through the approval process (for example, Psychology and Sociology, both Social Studies electives). To determine if an elective course has corresponding state standards, visit the following web address: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/. If an elective course, however, is locally developed by a school and/or district, with locally generated standards, then the course is not required to go through the approval process.
The North Carolina Vendor Course Approval Process reviews only full courses for first-time credit, where both the content and the teacher are provided by the vendor.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are not required to go through a formal review at Phase 1, provided the vendor can demonstrate that each AP course syllabus has been approved by the College Board. To satisfy the requirements of a Phase 1 review (determining standard/curriculum alignment), a vendor must follow the process to submit the appropriate AP Syllabus Audit and Approval from the College Board: http://bit.ly/AP-Approval.

If a new vendor requests a review for an AP course, and can provide the necessary syllabus approval and AP teacher preparation documentation, then the AP course moves directly to a Phase 2 review which includes a full review of Course Quality (Standards B-E) and Teacher Quality (Standards B-J).

If a course from an Institution of Higher Education is taught by a college professor and taught at the collegiate level for dual credit, then a review of the course(s) is not required. However, if the course(s) is specific to high school to satisfy graduation credit, and a teacher, provided by the university, teaches the respective course(s), then the course(s) is required to go through the North Carolina Vendor Course Approval Process.
No, because state virtual charter schools are evaluated and approved by the NC State Board of Education, courses offered via NC state approved virtual charters do not require a review.
All approved vendor courses are located on our Approved Vendor Courses page. The approved courses are organized by subject area. The table includes the course, the vendor, the course review results, the detailed evaluation forms for course quality and teacher quality, and the date of approval.
It is the goal of North Carolina Virtual Public School to complete reviews within a 120 day timeframe.
Vendors, schools, and districts can contact the NC Vendor Course Approval Process coordinator, Don Lourcey (don.lourcey@ncpublicschools.gov) if there are additional questions not covered by the Frequently Asked Questions.