ACP Basics & FAQs

ACP PuzzleCurrent Administrative Rule

What are the requirements for ACP?

Requirements for Academic and Career Planning (ACP) services are outlined are in the PI 26 Administrative Rule published on December 1, 2015.  How those services are determined and delivered will be defined by local school districts.

Furthermore, districts should make efforts to incorporate ACP service delivery as an integral part of their overall college and career readiness strategic planning so that other educational efforts are leveraged and ACP responsibilities do not just fall on counselors to implement. For that reason, DPI is creating a set of tools to help districts prepare, plan, and implement ACP.

What is ACP?    

Academic and Career Planning (ACP) is a collaboratively developed, student-driven process where students cultivate their own informed decisions for post-secondary success.  Also known by some groups as Individualized Learning Plans (ILP), research on the benefits indicates that the ACP process increases student motivation, engagement, school connection, and awareness of individual strengths and weaknesses. Students utilizing ACP also improve their understanding of postsecondary options, better connect their goals to educational coursework and career goal activities, and engage in long-term planning for life after high school graduation.

The term ACP refers to both a process that helps students engage in academic and career development activities and an e- portfolio product that is created and maintained for the student’s academic, career, and personal advancement. These student-owned planning and monitoring tools help students create personalized programs of study that are aligned with high school graduation requirements, personal interests, and individually-defined career goals.

Which students will participate in ACP?

All students enrolled in grades 6 through 12 in a public school district will participate in ACP.

This also includes students with disabilities who have Individualized Education Programs (IEP)/Post-secondary Transition Plans (PTP), as well as students with Section 504 Accommodation Plans, English Language Learners, students who are Gifted and or Talented, students who are homeless, and students considered neglected and delinquent.

The ACP process will foster personalized learning through activities and experiences to connect academic courses and personal, social and career goals.  This should be supported in a way that advances goal setting, decision-making and self-advocacy skills.  Building those skills will support post-secondary success, employment and life-long learning.

Which schools are required to provide ACP services?

This is a requirement for Wisconsin school boards.  Under Wis. Stat. § 115.28(59)(b) every school board will ensure that it is “providing academic and career planning services to pupils enrolled in grades 6 to 12 in the school district” beginning in fall 2017.

Are all students required to prepare an Academic and Career Plan?

Wis. Stat. § 115.28(59)(b) requires that beginning in the 2017-18 school year, every school board ensures that it is “providing academic and career planning services to pupils enrolled in grades 6 to 12 in the school district.”

What are the process features of quality ACP?

Quality ACP features include alignment with current Education for Employment (E4E) law, and the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model (WCSCM) with opportunities that incorporate self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning & management activities.


  • KNOW- Who am I?
    • Self-awareness activities
    • Individual reflection and goal-setting
  • EXPLORE- What do I want to do?
    • Career awareness assessment
    • Career research
  • PLAN- How do I get there?
    • Connecting middle and high school instructional activities with opportunities to explore or learn more about a particular field of interest.
    • Work-based learning opportunities
    • Extra-curricular and community-based learning experiences
    • Postsecondary training options
    • Financial plan to cover cost of postsecondary training
  • GO- Do IT!
    • Update regularly
    • Adapt/Modify Intentional Sequence of Courses
    • Adapt/Modify Personal Goals
    • Adapt/Modify Postsecondary/Career Goals
    • ACP Conferencing with families

How is ACP different from what I am doing now?

It may not be all that different from what you are doing now depending on how thoroughly you are implementing the current components of the PI 26 Education for Employment (E4E) rule and the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model (WCSCM).  ACP should not be viewed as another new initiative, but rather be considered part of an ongoing process of implementation, review, evaluation, and refinement as a district implements the components of college and career readiness.  Furthermore, ACP reinforces similar requirements already in place for special populations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Career Technical Education Programs of Study required for federal Carl D. Perkins funding.  

On the other hand, schools may be struggling to fully implement E4E and WCSCM or achieve the respective goals and purposes.  ACP is built on a strong paradigm of and commitment to student-centered and student directed processes.  Moving your school, the entire staff, and even your community toward this paradigm and commitment may be the biggest difference from what is currently being done.

Fortunately, resources are being developed to aid districts in the development and refinement of the ACP process including ways to ensure they are student-centered and student-directed.