Advanced Academic Programs (AAP)

Fairfax County Public Schools offers a continuum of advanced academic services for students K-12 that builds upon students' individual strengths and skills and maximizes academic potential for all learners.

AAP Level IV Screening Updates for 2020-21 School Year

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there are some adjustments to the Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) Level IV screening processes for the 2020-21 school year. Below please find some important notes for parents.

Pathways to Level IV Screening

There are two pathways for students to be considered by the central selection committee for AAP Level IV (full-time) services:

  • One pathway is an annually determined second grade screening pool. (Parents/Guardians with students in the pool received email notifications on Dec. 7)
  • The other pathway is by referral. (The referral window was Sept 8-Dec 1)

Parents are reminded to submit a referral form in the referral window if they want to be sure that their student is screened for Level IV services. Parents should not wait for announcement of the second grade pool.  Referrals are not accepted after the window closes as local schools will begin scheduling and coordinating the steps required to complete the student portfolios immediately after the window closes.  

Timeline for Submitting an AAP Level IV Referral (Sept 8-Dec 1)

  • Referrals for AAP level IV screening will be collected between September 8 through December 1, 2020.
  • Referral forms are emailed to the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher (AART) and principal at the local school. The email will count as a digital signature for the referral. 

Note: Referrals will not be accepted past December 1, 2020. A deadline of December 1, 2020 gives local schools time to organize and submit screening portfolios to the central office.

Parent Input


A referral form is required for any student (grades 2-7) whose parent would like them screened for full-time services but is not in the 2nd grade screening pool. Parents will be notified by the local school if their 2nd grade student is in the pool. Notification of the screening pool will happen after the closure of the referral window. If your student is in the screening pool and you have submitted a referral form, that referral form will still be considered as a part of the holistic screening file.


Parents may submit:

These optional materials should be submitted to the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher at the local school when submitting the referral form.


Awards, certificates, and letters of recommendation will not be part of screening files.

Testing Updates

  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) will not be offered this school year.  
  • The one-time retest option for the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT) or CogAT test will not be available this school year. 
  • There will be a process for students without an abilities test on file to take the NNAT in December 2020. Local schools will determine which students require the NNAT and will reach out to families to schedule safe and socially distanced testing.

Note: While private testing that follows guidelines may be submitted, testing is only one type of data considered. All ability tests are considered within the larger context of the overall screening portfolio. FCPS does not encourage families to seek additional testing beyond what FCPS provides to all students.

General Information

FCPS AAP Philosophy

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) believes in developing the strengths and talents of all students. Every student needs to be challenged and engaged in exciting learning experiences.

FCPS policies and procedures are grounded in equity and inclusion. Our commitment to providing rigor to all students is part of the FCPS strategic plan. AAP offers a continuum of advanced academic services to meet a broad range of student needs. We take a holistic approach that uses a variety of assessments to determine the level of service to match the child’s current needs.

With the FCPS talent development model, all students in FCPS will receive:

  • Critical and creative thinking lessons.
  • Access to AAP curriculum and strategies.

Some students need a differentiated curriculum to address their cognitive and social-emotional needs. These students receive additional AAP services based on:

  • Academic needs beyond peers at their grade level.
  • Strengths in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
  • A need for increased depth, complexity, and pace of instruction.

Students’ advanced academic needs may change over time. The AAP continuum of services develops and builds on students’ current strengths and talents.

Parent Presentations

AAP Overview Video | La sinopsis de los servicios del Programa Académico Avanzado

AAP Screening and Identification Video | Evaluación e identificación para los servicios AAP Nivel IV (a tiempo completo)

Contact the AART at your local school for dates and times for Parent Information Meetings.

Elementary School AAP Services

FCPS offers a continuum of services for elementary students to meet their current academic needs.

Level I: Grades K-6 – All students receive lessons in critical and creative thinking strategies and some AAP curriculum lessons.

Level II: Grades K-6 – Identified students receive AAP curriculum lessons in the general education setting in areas of academic strength.

Level III: Grades 3-6 – Identified students receive AAP curriculum lessons in more than one academic content area. The Advanced Academic Resource Teacher (AART) leads these lessons. Programming has increased depth and complexity in several content areas.

Level IV: Grades 3-8 –Identified students receive AAP curriculum lessons full-time. Programming has increased depth, complexity, and pace in all academic content areas.

Middle School AAP Services

Honors Classes: Any student who seeks academic rigor may enroll in honors classes. Students should consider taking honors classes in areas of strengths or interest.

Level IV: Eligible students may either attend their assigned AAP center school or enroll in Honors classes at their base school.

High School AAP Services

Any student may enroll in advanced courses in high school as long as they have met the course pre-requisites.

Honors Classes: Any student who seeks academic rigor may enroll in honors courses. Students should consider taking honors courses in areas of strengths or interest.

Advanced Placement (AP): AP coursework is similar to first year college courses. They help prepare students for college level coursework.

International Baccalaureate (IB): The IB programs provide rigorous coursework. Students engage in deep thinking, reading, and writing with an international perspective.

Dual Enrollment: FCPS teachers teach Dual Enrollment courses. Students may earn college credit through agreements with a college or university.


FCPS Advanced Academic Programs is committed to identifying and developing strengths and talents in all students including:

Applications for Current FCPS Students

FCPS aims to provide each student with the level of service they need to be challenged and make continuous academic growth.

Students currently attending FCPS may apply by following these published deadlines and instructions.

Applications for New FCPS Residents

FCPS aims to provide each student with the level of service they need to be challenged and make continuous academic growth.

Families who move into Fairfax County from another county or state (including military families) may apply for immediate placement.

Applications for Private School/Home School Families

FCPS aims to provide each student with the level of service they need to be challenged and make continuous academic growth.

Fairfax County residents who attend a private school or homeschool have two opportunities to apply each year.


Advanced Academic Programs Advisory Committee

Contact the Advanced Academic Program Office