The end of the school year is upon us! Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but some IOAPA students may also be searching for intellectually stimulating activities to occupy their free time. Here are some ideas:
Participate in summer enrichment activities such as Blast (Iowa City, Ankeny, and Waukee; open to students through 6th grade), Summer of Learning (West Des Moines Community Schools; opportunities for all grades), or Summer Enriched & Accelerated Learning (Sioux City; open to high-ability students entering grades 1 through 9). Your school or Area Education Agency may have more ideas of local opportunities.
Engage in volunteer opportunities in your community. Volunteer work can strengthen college and job applications, and it has social and psychological benefits for both the volunteers and the people and communities they serve.
Read for fun, read the news, read alone or with friends or family. Reading helps expand your vocabulary and build your analytical skills. The Iowa Reading Research Center offers resources for promoting literacy development and Hoagies Gifted Education Page offers reading lists for gifted students. Public libraries often offer summer reading programs for students of all ages.
Learn something new like a skill you’ve always wanted to master. There are free online tutorials for almost anything, and it’s a great way to challenge your brain to operate in a different way.
How do you plan to spend your summer? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @belinblankIOAPA!
Are you thinking about having your high-ability student take I-Excel? The Belin-Blank Center is hosting a testing session on the University of Iowa campus on June 12th.
I-Excel is considered an above-level test. It contains 8th grade content, but it is administered to high-ability 4th – 6th graders. Students scoring at the 95th percentile or higher on any subject of the grade-level test (such as the Iowa Assessments) have reached the ceiling of that test. An above-level test raises the ceiling, measures the student’s aptitudes more accurately, and can inform parents and educators about readiness for advanced curriculum. More information and a video about above-level testing can be found at this link.
I-Excel is a test of 8th grade content, which provides a challenge for talented 4th-6th graders. This test enables students to demonstrate their academic strengths in math, science, English, and reading. The results of an above-level test tell us what students are ready to learn, which can help parents and educators make appropriate curriculum modifications and programming. Outstanding individual scorers will be recognized in a formal recognition ceremony at the University of Iowa. Families receive above-level test score reports and an extensive interpretation of results. This interpretation includes recommendations for curriculum readiness. More information about I-Excel can be found here.
The next testing session on the University of Iowa campus is June 12th, and students may register here. Check-in begins at 12:30, and testing will conclude around 3:00 p.m. The cost is $65. A few weeks before the test, we will send more details to students who have signed up.
Students unable to participate in the testing session at the University of Iowa can still take I-Excel testing this school year. See detailed information about Individual Testing, which can be arranged at a convenient location and time. The deadline for testing this is June 10th, and testing will resume again in the fall. If you have any questions, email us at email@example.com.
This time of year in Iowa signals the arrival of warmer weather, graduation, and the publication of the Iowa AP Index. Every year since 2005, the Belin-Blank Center has recognized Iowa high schools for providing Advanced Placement opportunities to Iowa students.
The Iowa AP Index for a given high school is the ratio of AP exams taken by students (any grade) divided by the number of its graduating seniors. A high AP Index is an indication that a school has developed a culture that is supportive of student participation in AP courses and exams. For more on how the Index is calculated, visit the About the Index page. The 2017 statewide AP Index for all public schools in Iowa is .63, and reflects a .03-point increase in statewide AP participation compared to 2016.
For the 9th consecutive year, George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids is the top-ranked school with an AP Index of 3.31. Rounding out the top 5 are John F. Kennedy High School (Cedar Rapids, 3.03), Valley Lutheran High School (Cedar Falls, 3.00), Roosevelt High School (Des Moines, 2.86), and West Senior High School (Iowa City, 2.42). Visit the AP Index website to learn more view the full list.
Are you curious about how to increase AP participation in your school? Check out our previous post on developing an AP culture and check out the College Board’s resources to start and grow AP. IOAPA can help expand access to AP, especially for rural schools that cannot support in-person AP courses. Visit belinblank.org/ioapa to learn more.
…and whole host of other things! Check out our April newsletter for what we’re looking forward to:
Students who received a Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention for their submission to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (Iowa or Midwest Regions) were invited to our Scholastic Celebration!
In collaboration with Iowa Testing Programs, we’re proud to announce a new way for Iowa teachers to find students who could benefit from an above-level test. Educators in Iowa who have access to eITP can now run lists of students who qualify for above-level testing (administering a test designed for older students to younger students). The tool creates a list of students who scored highly enough on their Iowa Assessments that they would benefit from the additional challenge of an above-level test. To learn more about above-level testing, please visit belinblank.org/talent-search.