Encouraging Students to Take AP Exams

Around this time of year, AP teachers across the country frequently hear the following question: “Why should I take the AP Exam?” This blog post will provide some responses to that question, and some tips for AP teachers to encourage their students to take AP Exams.

Why Should Students Take The Exam?
First off, AP Exams are the only way to earn college credit for AP courses. This can be a strong motivation for students, as one of the advantages of AP courses is that they provide opportunities to earn college credit while in high school, and achieve ‘advanced placement’ upon entering college.

Second, the experience of taking AP exams is beneficial for students even beyond the exposure to advanced material presented in the course. One study found that students who took one or more AP Exams were more likely to enroll in college than students who did not take any AP exams (Chajewski, Mattern, & Shaw, 2011). Students who took both an AP course and exam outperformed students who took an AP course only with regard to both college achievement and graduation (Hargrove, Godin, & Dodd, 2008). Research findings generally suggest that AP course participation yields benefits beyond non-AP courses, and that AP Exam participation compounds those benefits.

Finally, the AP Exams are a socially appropriate way of “showing off” what you’ve learned, and students who participate and succeed on a high number of AP Exams can earn recognition in addition to college credit. There are several opportunities to earn special recognition, and they are detailed on the AP Awards and Recognition page of the AP Students website.

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How Can Teachers Encourage Students Who Are On The Fence?
A personal conversation with students about their goals for taking AP coursework is a good first step. If their goal is to earn credit for college, they must take the exam in order to achieve it. If they entered the class with a different goal, the AP Exam may or may not be necessary. In general, it is recommended that all students who complete an AP course take the corresponding exam.

Some students may be worried about underperforming on the AP Exam. Mentors can discuss these concerns with students and reassure them that tthere is no penalty associated with low AP Exam scores. The exam is separate from the course grade, so course grades will not be negatively impacted by a low AP Exam score, and low scores will not have an impact on college admission decisions. Students can also control how and to whom their AP Exam scores are reported if they are concerned about college admissions.

Some students may be worried that they won’t be prepared for the AP Exam. There are a lot of great resources available to determine readiness for AP Exams. The College Board provides sample questions on their website and many independent publishers offer books aimed at helping with AP Exam preparation. Making these tools available is an excellent way to help students feel prepared and motivated to take the AP Exam.

What Else Should We Know?
For information on 2018 AP Exam dates, ordering, and other details, review our previous blog post. You can also visit the College Board website for relevant school preparation and Exam Day information. As always, feel free to contact ioapa@belinblank.org with questions, and stay tuned to our blog for more AP Exam tips!

References
Chajewski, M., Mattern, K. D., & Shaw, E.J. (2011). Examining the role of Advanced Placement Exam participation in four-year college enrollment. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 30(4), 16-27.
Hargrove, L., Godin, D., & Dodd, B. (2008). College outcomes comparisons by AP and non-AP high school experiences. (College Board Research Report No. 2008-3). New York: The College Board. Retrieved from: http://research.collegeboard.org/rr2008-3.pdf.

AP Exam Reviews Through IOAPA

UPDATE: All of our AP Exam Reviews have now been spoken for. As mentioned below, we had an extremely limited number this year, due to increased enrollments in courses. If schools and/or families would like to purchase the reviews on their own, directly from Apex Learning, we would be happy to send you information about that. Contact ioapa@belinblank.org.


The Iowa Online AP Academy is pleased to announce that the AP Online Exam Review will again be available to all Iowa AP students and teachers. Students in IOAPA AP classes are automatically set up, and students in your on-site AP classes are eligible to sign up for AP Exam Review.

AP Exam Review is available through Apex Learning for the following 13 AP courses: AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Statistics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, and AP U.S. History.

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Significantly fewer AP Exam Reviews are available this year than in years past, due to extremely high interest in our ever-expanding course offerings. In light of these limitations, we ask that schools carefully consider their students’ need for and interest in this modality of support before signing students up for AP Exam Review through Apex. Please make this opportunity available to students who will make use of the support, and especially to students who may lack access to other resources.

The process for schools to register students for AP Exam Review differs from the registration for online AP courses. Please read the following instructions carefully. If you have questions about signing students up for AP Exam Review, you can contact Lori Hudson at ioapa@belinblank.org, 1-800-336-6463, or 319-335-6148.

There are two ways for schools to set up users.

Option 1:
The first option is for the Site Coordinator to create a Classroom through their IOAPA account (use the Classroom Tab). Site Coordinators may then add students to each AP Exam Review subject class they create. To add or edit a Classroom for AP Exam Review, please sign in to http://ioapa.apexvs.com/ApexUI/ and click on the Classroom tab. The Exam Review should be the only class showing. Click on the “Add a Classroom” button on the right and follow the prompts to add the class, select the exam review content, and add students. Add a classroom for each Exam Review content area you want to access.

Do not enroll mentors through this Classroom tab; instead, add them as staff in the Staff Tab. They can then select the Exam Review areas they need.

Option 2, to be used if you will be enrolling 25 or more students:
The second option is for the school to send a completed Excel file (contact ioapa@belinblank.org for template) to Support at Apex Learning. Apex Learning Support staff will register the students for your school if you have more than 25 students per review. Given the limited number of AP Exam Reviews available this year, this option will be very rarely needed.

Option 2 Instructions: List each student on a single line. Indicate which AP Exam Review course(s) by product code the student should be enrolled in. Product codes are listed in the Product Code tab on the bottom of the AP Exam Review File form. If a student wants to be in multiple exam review, list each course on the single line and separate each course product code with a comma. If you have more than 25 users to enroll, please contact the Apex Learning Support team for information on bulk registration/enrollment. Please attach your completed Excel file to an email addressed to support@apexlearning.com. Use the email subject line: IOAPA – {Your School Name} AP Exam Review Student List.

We’re excited to make this resource available to Iowa students! Contact us at ioapa@belinblank.org with any questions.

Message From the Director: How Did We Get From 1988 to 2018? Phase II (1993-1998)

I find it uncanny how the latter half (1993-1998) of the center’s first decade forecast the present.  In 1993, we hosted the 2nd H. B. & Jocelyn Wallace Research Symposium, which foretold the 12th Wallace Research Symposium.  By 1993, the Wallace Symposium was established as the premier research conference in gifted education and talent development.  The 2018 Wallace Symposium will be co-hosted by the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and Vanderbilt University Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.  The specialized topic for the 12th symposium is honoring the legacy of Julian Stanley, founder of the Talent Search Model.  Indeed, it was my training as a postdoctoral scholar with Dr. Stanley that gave me a psychoeducational foundation for bringing the Talent Search Model to the Belin-Blank Center and securing the early funding that allowed us to experiment with applying the Talent Search Model to elementary students.

By 1993, the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS) was in full operation.   The Talent Search Model is one of the most effective systems for discovering students who have high academic potential.  Primarily implemented outside of the school setting, the Belin-Blank Center has pioneered the application of the above-level testing model in schools through our online, above-level test, I-Excel.  These pioneering efforts — over 25 years — have demonstrated that we can broaden the talent pool and serve greater numbers of students who otherwise might not be identified for specialized programming.

The first annual Recognition Ceremony was hosted in 1993.  This ceremony does what it says:  recognizes students and their teacher for outstanding accomplishments earned through Belin-Blank Center programming.  Since the first ceremony, we have invited students to nominate a teacher who had the greatest influence on them.  This is always one of the most meaningful opportunities for students to show their appreciation to their teachers.

Fast-forwarding through the years 1994 – 1998 allows us a glimpse at the following highlights:

  • In 1994, we established the Iowa Talent Project, which was developed to find very talented under-represented students as early as grade 7 and support their academic development through graduation from the University of Iowa. This program continued for two decades.
  • In 1995, the Center’s name officially changed from the Connie Belin National Center for Gifted Education to the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. This new name recognized the generosity of Myron and Jacqueline N. Blank and their enduring friendship with co-founders David and Connie Belin, reflected our growing international connections, and expanded our focus by including talent development.
  • 1996 was a year in which we continued to develop our educator and student programs. We also prepared for the hosting of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Conference, which occurred in August of 1997 in Seattle, WA.
  • Finally, 1998 gave us the 3rd Wallace Research Symposium as well as the beginning stages of planning for the Belin-Blank Center’s National Advisory Board and the National Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (which would become the Bucksbaum Academy in 2016).

Stay tuned for Phase III in April!

Online Professional Learning Opportunities Still Available this Semester

Some really exciting professional learning opportunities are still available this semester.  You can always find what we’re offering by visiting belinblank.org/educators and following the link to “Schedule.”  The classes below are listed chronologically by start date and are fully online.  Classes listed are one-semester-hour options, unless otherwise noted.

 

EDTL:4153:0WKA Gifted & General Education Collaboration

Gifted teachers know that gifted students often need differentiated learning experiences throughout the school day. This workshop will examine how classroom teachers and the gifted/talented resource teacher can collaborate to provide appropriate instructional services to gifted students.  Participants will examine collaborative models, planning process, and recommendations for both direct and indirect services.  Teams of classroom and gifted education teachers are encouraged.  [Programming strand]

  • Instructor: Gerald Aungst
  • Dates & Time: March 13, 2018 – April 2, 2018

 

EDTL:4066:0EXV/EDTL:4066:0EXW Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education

Analyzing and refining understanding of curriculum in context of: needs of gifted and talented students, rationale for and implementation of curriculum differentiation, and curriculum principles for and applications to gifted and talented; designed for preservice and inservice educators, as well as those interested in curriculum development, design, and delivery.  (3 s.h.)  [Programming strand]

  • InstructorLaurie Croft, Ph.D.
  • Dates & Time: March 19, 2018 – May 11, 2018 (8 week format)

 

EDTL:4096:0EXW Topics in Teaching and Learning: Giftedness 101

This class will focus on an analysis of Giftedness 101  by Linda Silverman. What IS giftedness? Exploring common myths and misunderstandings, this book helps participants understand the meaning of giftedness and the importance of well-articulated programs to support these students, going beyond the general education experience. (2 s.h.) [Psychology strand]

  • Instructor: Laurie J Croft, Ph.D. and Gwen Livingstone Pakora, M.A.
  • Dates & Time: March 19, 2018 – May 07, 2018

EDTL:4073:0WKA Programming/Curriculum for High Ability Students: Real World Problem Solving

High ability learners synthesize both content understanding and methodological applications by tackling real-world problems. Participants will learn about complex instruction, problem-based learning, and ill-structured problems; and they will practice methods to seek answers to their own “real-world problems” within the context of gifted education. This graduate-level workshop in gifted education is designed to assist pre-service and in-service educators as they develop and refine their understandings of the value of problem-solving approaches in the teaching/learning process, particularly important in the context of the academic and socioaffective needs of gifted and talented students.

  • Instructor: Kristine Milburn, Ed.D.
  • Dates & Time: April 9, 2018 – April 27, 2018

 

RCE:5238:0WKA Advanced Seminar in Gifted Education:  Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development

Attendance at the Wallace Research Symposium, April 29 – May 1, 2018, Baltimore, MD, is required, as is a synthesis of major themes and an evaluation of the relevance of conference themes to the participant’s role in gifted education.  Participants will propose a possible future research project sparked by participation in the Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development.

  • Instructor: Laurie Croft, Ph.D.
  • Dates & Time: May 7, 2018 – May 25, 2018

 

If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Croft (laurie-croft@uiowa.edu) or Haley Wikoff (haley-wikoff@uiowa.edu).

Expanding IOAPA’s Above-Level Math Pathway

We at the Iowa Online AP Academy are excited to announce the addition of two new courses for the 2018-2019 school year!

Both courses expand the existing above-level math pathway, allowing students to access additional high school math courses during middle school. Our current offerings, Algebra I (Honors) and Geometry (Honors), can now be followed by Algebra II (Honors) and Precalculus (Honors). All courses in this sequence are available for students in grades 6 through 8 who do not have access to a comparable in-person course.

Algebra II (Honors) builds on the concepts addressed in Algebra I, and develops skills necessary for future advanced math courses. Due to the reliance on Algebra I concepts, students are strongly encouraged to complete an Algebra I course or demonstrate mastery of Algebra I concepts prior to enrolling in Algebra II.

Precalculus (Honors) introduces students to concepts that integrate their previous learning with new skills to prepare students for Calculus and beyond. Prior to enrolling in Precalculus, students should successfully complete Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry or demonstrate mastery of relevant concepts.

There are a number of ways in which schools and students can choose to handle the sequencing of these courses.

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When planning advanced course sequences for students, it is important to consider what comes before and after the main sequence. For example, if bright students have access to Algebra in 6th grade, might they also have access to Pre-Algebra during 5th grade? Additionally, if students are completing a number of high school math courses during middle school, what math courses will they take in high school? Will the courses taken in middle school count toward high school graduation requirements? If not, how will students have access to sufficient math coursework to meet those requirements once they reach high school? Planning is essential to ensure that high ability students continue to learn new things throughout their educational careers.

Registration for fall courses opens the week of March 19. Stay tuned to the blog, our website, and our Twitter for updates. Don’t forget to get started with above-level testing for middle school course eligibility. As always, contact us with questions at ioapa@belinblank.org.

“Learning about gifted education is a process, not a destination”

The Fellowship has certainly given me more knowledge. It has also helped me to realize that learning about gifted education is a process, not a destination. I think no matter how long I do this I will have more to learn, but that is okay. It will make me a more compassionate, understanding teacher.”

For over 35 years, educators have benefited from a unique professional development opportunity known as The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank Fellowship Program in Gifted Education. The summer 2018 Fellowship will be held June 24 – 29 on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.

This exciting professional learning experience allows educators to learn more about gifted and talented students and ways to meet their needs. Participants live on campus for a week, collaborating with others who have a commitment to understanding more about high-ability learners, as well as understanding research-based strategies that facilitate authentic talent development among their district’s most capable students.

For an overview of the program, please download a brochure.  Educators may apply online and review more details of the program.  Selection for the 12 Belin-Blank Fellows will be based on a review of applications, as well as a review of the statements of support from administrators.

This unique Fellowship was originally designed for the general education teacher—the individual who spends the greatest amount of classroom time with gifted and talented learners. In recent years, we also have welcomed teacher leaders, counselors, and administrators, knowing they work closely with teachers to ensure best practices for all students. An endowment covers the cost of tuition, room, board, university resources (including Wi-Fi), as well as nationally recognized experts in gifted education. We ask that the district support its participant(s) through a payment of a $250 resource fee. These resources are comprehensive, providing professional learning opportunities for others.

Please share information about the Fellowship with colleagues. Encourage educators to apply online. Each applicant is responsible for completing the application process by March 16 and must ask for a brief statement of support from the Superintendent or other district administrator, also submitted online by March 16.

 If you have any questions about the Fellowship or the application process, please contact Laurie Croft, Associate Director for Professional Development at laurie-croft@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6148 / 800-336-6463. We look forward to having a teacher from your district join us this summer!

Kids with ADHD—We Would Like to Hear About You!

Are you a middle schooler (or parent of one) who has ADHD? We are interested in learning more about kids like you and their friendships, and you have the chance to earn an Amazon gift card. Keep reading to learn more!

Interested individuals are invited to participate in a research study investigating the perceptions of friendship quality amongst middle school students. Information you provide through your participation can help us gain insight that may one day help students like you. This information may help researchers better understand how students with ADHD view their friendships compared to their peers, which may later help clinicians develop and modify social skills interventions and other supports for students.

We are looking for students in Grades 6, 7, or 8 (or the equivalent) who have completed standardized assessments (e.g., Iowa Assessments, Wechsler Assessments, CogAT, etc.) and would be interested in participating in our study. You will also be asked to provide demographic information about your child along with documentation of their cognitive ability (such as Iowa Assessment scores from school) and ADHD diagnosis. To participate, students will complete an online survey. The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.

Participants who complete the study will be entered in a drawing to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Principal Investigator (Staci Fosenburg, staci-fosenburg@uiowa.edu) for more information about how to participate in this study. Thank you!