Increasingly, school districts are working with online providers of advanced placement courses to boost the number of subjects in which they can offer courses to top students. The courses are developed with the intent that students will take the College Board’s AP exams and qualify for college credits.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Apex Learning ( has developed a number of AP courses, and it has steadily gained use from small, private schools that do not have the resources to offer many AP classes. Now, Apex is expanding its effort to reach large public school districts, and it’s gaining popularity in that arena, too.

Utah school officials say their rural, small high schools often cannot provide AP options, and Apex, at least, provides students who can learn effectively online with a new educational opportunity. Wisconsin and Kentucky officials say that rural and urban low-income students benefit from access to the courses, and Kentucky officials are incorporating them into special “advanced” diplomas that are available to high-achieving students.