Iowa High Schools Recognized in 2012 Iowa AP Index

Dr. Nicholas ColangeloFor the past eight years, the Belin-Blank Center has recognized Iowa’s high schools for creating Advanced Placement (AP) opportunities for high-ability students.  Our vehicle for recognition is the Iowa AP Index, and today we publicly share the results of the 2012 Index.  Once again, it gives me great pleasure to recognize and celebrate Iowa’s high schools for their efforts at providing meaningful and rigorous coursework.

Washington High School in Cedar Rapids is #1

The top performing AP school for 2012 in Iowa is George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids.  This is, impressively, the fourth year in a row that Washington has taken the top spot.  Rounding out the top 5 in the 2012 Iowa AP Index are Regina High School, a private Catholic school in Iowa City (2nd); John F. Kennedy High School, in Cedar Rapids (3rd), Ames High School (4th), and West High School in Iowa City (5th).  Visit for a ranking of the top 50 AP schools and highlights of other findings from the 2012 Index.  The top 25 schools will be honored during the annual Belin-Blank Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 7, 2012, at the University of Iowa.

The Iowa AP Index

The Iowa AP Index assesses Advanced Placement (AP) participation among accredited public and private schools in Iowa, and it is part of the Belin-Blank Center’s efforts to recognize Iowa schools that provide challenging academic opportunities for high school students.  The Index is designed to give a fair comparison of AP opportunity across Iowa schools regardless of size and geographic location.  AP courses and exams are essential to ensuring that all students in Iowa receive rigorous academic experience.  In Iowa, geography should not dictate opportunity.

An index score is calculated for each participating school based on the ratio of AP exams taken by all its students divided by the number of its graduating seniors. The 2012 Iowa AP Index is based on the AP exams taken in May 2011 and seniors graduating in May/June 2011 in the participating schools.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program allows students to pursue college-level studies and take college-level exams while in high school. In May 2011, nearly 2 million students took 3.4 millions AP Exams in 34 subjects. Considerable research indicates the positive aspects of taking AP courses and exams.  Success in this advanced coursework indicates college readiness.

It takes the efforts of many people to foster a climate supportive of AP coursework, from school principals to AP teachers to parents and students.  We congratulate the principals and teachers of all the schools in the 2012 Index for taking a leadership role in creating opportunities for their students.

Positive trends in Iowa AP performance

Performance on AP exams remains high in Iowa. In 2011, 65.4 percent of Iowa’s students scored a three or better on the AP exams, which compares favorably to the 2011 national average of 57.5 percent of students who scored a three or better.  There was a slight increase from last year’s Index (based on 2010 data) in the number of Iowa students taking AP exams (14,896) and the total number of exams taken (9,609).

The Belin-Blank Center supports Advanced Placement

The Belin-Blank Center provides outreach and professional development for teachers to encourage access to AP courses.  The Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA) provides AP opportunities to students at accredited high schools in Iowa, with a focus on rural schools. IOAPA, funded by the Iowa legislature, covers the cost of AP courses, exams and materials.  To support AP teachers, the Belin-Blank Center hosts the Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute each summer to help prepare educators to teach AP courses.

Congratulations to all the Iowa schools that provide AP opportunities!

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