Getting Ag Credit to Count: Superintendents

High school agriculture science classes can count toward student graduation requirements. Here’s how:

1.   Ensure your agriculture teacher is certified to teach the science subject being considered for substitution (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics). More than half of agriculture teachers in Iowa also carry an endorsement in a science area, principally biology.

2.   Identify which agriculture classes contain enough science content to qualify as a science course per local school board requirements. Animal science-focused agricultural science courses may align with Human Biology, for example, and Agricultural Science courses focused on matter, energy and mechanical principals may align with Physics or Physical Science and so forth. The designers of the CASE program offer the following recommendations for review of alignment:

a.   Ag Science – Animal (general science credit)

b.   Ag Science – Plant (general science credit)

c.   Animal & Plant Biotech (general science credit or possible biology or life science credit)

d.   Food Science & Safety (general science credit or possible chemistry credit)

e.   Ag Power & Tech (general science or possible physics credit)

f.    Mechanical Systems in Ag (general science credit or possible physics credit)

g.   Natural Resources & Ecology (general science credit)

h.   Environmental Science Issues (general science credit or possible Earth science credit)

3.   Identify how many agriculture classes would be designated as CTE courses and how many would be designated as science courses. The school districts need to maintain at least three agriculture courses designated as CTE courses to meet state vocational education requirements.

4.   Work through your local process to approve selected agriculture courses to count as science credits to meet high school graduation requirements. This may include school board approval or some other process unique to your school.

Testimonial: "The school board of Southeast Polk High School approved my animal and plant biotech course as a biology science credit. Now, students have a lot more flexibility in choosing which biology class works best for their schedule. The biology teacher was also able to offer a different environmental science because of this change, which gives students even more options in meeting their high school science graduation requirements." - Southeast Polk High School agriculture teacher, Matt Eddy

Please contact us for more information on the school board approval process by emailing