Category Archives: School Psychology

IOAPA Coordinators: Start the AP Exam Conversation

As spring semester gets underway, students (in conjunction with their teachers and IOAPA mentors) must decide whether or not to take AP exams for their courses. As we’ve discussed in past posts, we encourage mentors and site coordinators to discuss taking the AP exam with students. March 25 is the priority deadline, and April 15 is the final deadline. For details, visit Each school, including IOAPA partners, must order their own exams directly through the College Board.

Why encourage students to take the AP exam? We often hear concerns that the exam is too stressful, or that students are worried about not passing. These are students who identify with being very smart. Sometimes less-than-perfect grades can feel threatening to that identity. It’s important to emphasize there are benefits to taking an AP exam, even if a student does not earn a score that qualifies for college credit. In addition, IOAPA provides free AP Exam Reviews to IOAPA students at no cost (be on the lookout for more information later in the spring).

Students who take the AP exam and receive at least a score of 2 have higher college GPAs and are more likely to graduate from college within 4 years than students who take concurrent enrollment courses. (See here and here.) Even if students do not “pass” the exam, it is still a valuable learning experience. If nothing else, they will gain practice studying for and taking a comprehensive college-level exam, and learn the course material more fully along the way – all in a supported, low-risk environment. Their exam score has no effect on their course grades, so their GPAs will remain intact, regardless of their exam performance. And, of course, they definitely won’t earn college credit if they don’t even take the exam!

For more information on AP exams, AP Coordinators can find additional resources here and here.



Response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

The Belin-Blank Center joins the countless professionals in schools and the mental health community in expressing our deep sorrow for the families of the students and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. This loss of human life is devastating, confusing, and terrifying for us, as well as for our children and students. Several national organizations have provided resources to help parents, teachers, and other professionals address the questions and concerns of children.

We hope that you find these resources helpful. If you have concerns about a child’s response to these events, please contact an appropriate mental health professional, either through the child’s school or in the community, for support and guidance.

The Intersection of Research and Practice

Belin-Blank Center graduate research assistant Clark Kopelman published an article in the Winter 2011 issue of The Iowa Psychologist, which is published by the Iowa Psychological Association.  The article, “Letting Research Inform Practice,” is on page 3.  Great job, Clark!

B-BC Well-Represented in Journal of Applied School Psychology

The October-December 2011 Journal of Applied School Psychology was a special issue focusing on school psychologists who work with gifted students.  The issue was co-edited by the Belin-Blank Center’s Megan Foley Nicpon (who also co-authored the introduction to the issue).  Also in the special issue is an article on twice-exceptionality and its implications for school psychologists by the Center’s Susan Assouline and Claire Whiteman.