Everything You Need to Know About 2018 AP Exams

With the spring semester well underway, many AP students and teachers are beginning to count down to the big exam. This post will present information about AP Exam logistics, including the schedule, ordering and costs, and exam accommodations. Stay tuned to the blog for a future post on motivating students to take AP Exams.

The Schedule

A full AP Exam schedule is available on the College Board website. A summary of exam dates for IOAPA courses is presented below. All morning exams begin at 8:00am, and all afternoon exams begin at 12:00pm unless otherwise indicated.

AP Biology: Monday, May 14 – Morning
AP Calculus AB: Tuesday, May 15 – Morning
AP Chemistry: Monday, May 7 – Morning
AP Computer Science A: Tuesday, May 15 – Afternoon
AP Computer Science Principles: Friday, May 11 – Afternoon
AP English Language and Composition: Wednesday, May 16 – Morning
AP English Literature and Composition: Wednesday, May 9 – Morning
AP Environmental Science: Thursday, May 10 – Afternoon
AP Macroeconomics: Wednesday, May 16 – Afternoon
AP Microeconomics: Friday, May 18 – Morning
AP Psychology: Monday, May 7 – Afternoon
AP Spanish Language and Culture: Tuesday, May 8 – Morning
AP Statistics: Thursday, May 17 – Afternoon
AP US Government and Politics: Thursday, May 10 – Morning
AP US History: Friday, May 11 – Morning


Exam Ordering and Costs

Students (generally with advice from teachers, parents, school counselors, or other school personnel) are responsible for deciding whether to take AP Exam(s) for the courses in which they enrolled. Schools are responsible for ordering those exams from the College Board for all students who indicate intent to complete exams. The priority deadline for ordering AP Exams is March 30th. All AP Exams must be ordered no later than April 20, 2018. Orders placed after April 13, 2018, will incur late fees. More information about specific procedures for ordering exams is available from the College Board.

Different states and schools handle exam fees differently. In general, for 2018 exams most students will pay the school $94 per exam. The College Board offers reduced-fee exams for students with financial need; these students generally pay the school $53 per exam. Further information can be found on the College Board website. Additional financial assistance may be available through federal and state funding. Federal funding for AP Exams has changed with the authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act, with funds previously devoted to the AP Test Fee Program now being consolidated into a new Title IV, Part A block grant. Districts and/or states can use these funds to subsidize exam fees for economically disadvantaged students; check with your school to find out what assistance is available in your district.

Exam Accommodations

Students with disabilities who wish to take AP Exams with accommodations must submit a request to the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). This process changed slightly last year, and you can visit our previous post on this topic for more details. For 2018 exams, requests for accommodations must be made by February 23.

As the AP Exams approach, keep an eye on our blog and our Twitter (@belinblankIOAPA) for helpful tips!


Getting Started With IOAPA Edhesive Courses

Early in the semester, it can be challenging to know how best to get started with IOAPA courses. We’ve put together step-by-step instructions to help anyone who may be struggling to get started. We’d also recommend saving this post for future reference, as it will be useful at the start of each semester.

  1. Register your students through IOAPA.
  2. Look for an email from Edhesive containing specific instructions on setting up your Teacher account and familiarizing yourself with the course materials.
    1. NOTE: If the person who registered the students is not the person who will be mentoring the course, send an email to info@edhesive.com and CC ioapa@belinblank.org explaining the situation. Be sure to include your name, email, and school name. If you know the Section Token assigned to the course(s) you intend to mentor, include that as well.
  3. After you have created and logged into your Teacher account, visit the Help section and click through the Support materials. You may especially want to look at the suggestions regarding course pacing in the “Customizing YOUR Course” section.
    1. We strongly recommend viewing all the support materials, as they are full of information that will maximize your students’ success with Edhesive courses.
  4. Visit the Teacher Forum and set up your Piazza account. See this post for more information on using the Teacher Forum.
  5. Send the step-by-step instructions for enrolling AND the Section Token (both included in the original email from Edhesive) to the registered students so they can enroll themselves in your section of the course.
  6. Verify with students that they are enrolled and can access the course. Return to your Edhesive teacher account and visit the gradebook to ensure that you can see enrolled students’ progress.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at ioapa@belinblank.org with questions. Other useful sources of information related to IOAPA Computer Science courses include the Edhesive Teacher Forum, the Edhesive blog, our IOAPA Twitter account (@belinblankIOAPA), and the Edhesive Twitter account (@TeamEdhesive). Keep following our blog to stay up to date on all things IOAPA!


Financial Assistance for AP Summer Institutes

Though nothing about the current weather suggests that it’s time to start thinking about summer, the quickly-approaching deadlines for the College Board AP Summer Institute scholarships suggest otherwise.


Each year, the College Board offers a number of scholarships to support teachers in attending an Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI). AP Summer Institutes provide subject-specific training for teachers who are interested in teaching an AP course. Summer Institutes can also support current teachers of AP courses seeking to further develop their skills, or gain familiarity with a redesigned version of the course (such as the 2018-2019 redesign of AP US Government and Politics). There are APSIs all around the country, including a College Board-approved APSI on the University of Iowa campus (AP Teacher Training Institute; www.belinblank.org/aptti).

Scholarships offered by the College Board include the AP Fellows Program for teachers at schools serving minority or low-income students, the AP Rural Fellows Program for teachers at rural schools, the AP Redesign Scholarship for teachers of the AP US Government and Politics course, and the AP Capstone Scholarship for teachers of the AP Capstone course. Additional details and application materials are available on the College Board’s website.

The deadline to apply for these scholarships is February 15, 2018, so if you’re considering attending an AP Summer Institute, apply today!

The AP Teacher Training Institute (APTTI) also offers a grant for Iowa teachers to defray the cost of tuition. See our website for more details.


Message From the Director: How Did We Get From 1988 to 2018?

Quite simply, with a lot of dedication and commitment from our generous founders and benefactors, much effort and commitment to excellence from our staff, and belief and trust in the mission – empowering the worldwide gifted community – from students, educators, and families we serve.   Simple but not easy.

In a few days, we will flip over the calendar page from December 2017 to January 2018 and will usher in not only 2018, but the beginning of a yearlong celebration of 30 years of nurturing potential and inspiring excellence at the Belin-Blank Center!  That symbolic flip of the page, especially during the month of December, evokes both nostalgia as we reflect upon the growth of the Center over three decades and wistfulness when we think about what’s coming up in the immediate and how that will shape the next few decades.

For the next year, each director’s message will include an installment of Belin-Blank Center past and a glimpse of Belin-Blank Center present and future.

The early years of the Belin-Blank Center’s past reveal that professional development has always been at the heart of the Center’s programming.  Starting with 17 teachers from Des Moines and West Des Moines, and pre-dating the founding of the Center, the professional development programs have grown to include dozens of courses, workshops, and webinars.  The courses and workshops offer educators the necessary experiences to earn the State of Iowa Endorsement in Gifted Education.

Educators are the heart of the Center and students are our soul.   The programs for students continue to evolve from the first program in 1988, which we hosted for middle-school students.  New opportunities for students in grades 3 – 11 abound.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Belin-Blank past, and on behalf of the all of the Belin-Blank Center faculty, staff, and students, I wish you a very happy and healthy 2018!

Spring Into Professional Learning

Almost 20 years ago, Dettmer wrote an article entitled Positive Ripple Effects of Professional Development for Gifted Programs (1998); citing Dettmer and Landrum (1997), she suggested that professional development (PD) serves “one  or more of five purposes…role renewal for certification…; role reassignment to earn additional or expanded credentials; professional growth to acquire new methods or make curricular changes; personal growth to improve skills and have enriching experiences; and inspiration…” (p. 1).  She also suggested that PD “directed toward education of gifted and talented contributes in a sixth way by activating positive ripple effects that influence curriculum, instructional methods, teaching techniques, resource materials, and support services” (p. 1).

The positive ripple effects that she detailed included “challenging all students with great expectations and strong encouragement to do their best; “making schools and teachers look good”; “pleasing parents and satisfying communities”; “optimizing opportunities for collaboration and networking”; and “encouraging action research” (Dettmer, 1998, p. 4).

Even before Spring semester begins, the Belin-Blank Center, in partnership with the College of Education, is providing professional learning experiences that facilitate that ripple effect.  Over Winter term (December 27, 2017 – January 12, 2018), Dr. Laurie Croft is offering EDTL:4085:0WKA Current Readings and Research in Gifted Education (1 semester hour workshop); this class can fulfill the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted requirement for credit in either the Psychology strand, the Programming strand, or the Administrative strand, depending on the choice of readings.

During Spring semester, Dr. Susan Assouline is offering PSQF:4121:0EXV Identification of Students for Gifted Programs; this three-semester-hour class provides educators with more information about issues related to identification, one of the most pressing issues in gifted education.  The class fulfills the requirement in the Psychology strand and is offered in an online asynchronous eight-week format from January 16 – March 19, 2018).  Dr. Croft is facilitating two sections of EDTL:4066 Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education (Programming strand); one is the traditional 16-week online asynchronous format (0EXU), and the other is also an eight-week format from March 19 – May 11, 2018 (0EXW).   Although these classes are asynchronous, they do require participants to complete readings, activities, and discussions on a weekly basis.  For those who would enjoy class on campus, EDTL:4066:0001 Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education meets on Monday evenings for 90 minutes, followed by online collaboration with those enrolled in the 0EXU section.

Dr. Randy Lange is offering EPLS:4110:0EXW Administration and Policy in Gifted Education from January 29 – April 27, 2018.  This two-semester hour class is online and asynchronous, and fulfills the requirement for the endorsement’s Administrative strand.

Dr. Croft will facilitate EDTL:4096:0EXW Topics / Giftedness 101 from March 19 – May 7, 2018.  This two-semester hour book study will explore Linda Silverman’s book, Giftedness101. This two-semester hour class is online and asynchronous, and fulfills the requirement for the endorsement’s Psychology strand.

The Center is offering a number of one-semester-hour online asynchronous workshops (workshops have no additional fees associated with enrollment):

  • EDTL:4096:0WKA Topics / Best-Kept Secret in Gifted Education: Abovel-Level Testing (Ann Shoplik and Laurie Croft), January 16 – February 5, 2018. This workshop requires participation in the Webinar on January 9, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Registration for either live participation or the link for later streaming is available here: belinblank.org/webinar.   As always, AEAs, school districts, or individuals only need to register one computer, while multiple individuals can take advantage of that registration and participate as a member of a cohort, discussing the content during the Webinar itself.  Cost for the Webinar or the link is $45; cost for both options (Webinar and the subsequent link) is $55.  Those who enroll in the credit option receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship.  The class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.
  • EDTL:4022:0WKA Math Programming for High-Ability Students (Ann Shoplik), February 20 – March 12, 2018. This class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.
  • EDTL:4153:0WKA Gifted and General Education Collaboration (Gerald Aungst), March 13 – April 2, 2018). This class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.
  • EDTL:04073:0WKA Programming/Curriculum for High-Ability Students: Real-World Problem Solving (Kristine Milburn), April 9 – 27, 2018. This class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.

Information about enrolling in any coursework that helps educators and even parents learn more about supporting the needs of gifted/talented learners can be found at belinblank.org/educators; follow the link to General Information, to Schedule, or to Register for those details.  We look forward to working with you.


Dettmer, P. (1998). Positive ripple effects of professional development for gifted programs. Tempo, 18(2), pp. 1, 4.

Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development

Wallace postcard 2017

Registration is open for the Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development, to be held April 29-May 1, 2018 at the Mt. Washington Conference Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.  The Wallace Research Symposium is the premiere scholarly conference for the latest research findings in gifted education and talent development.

Featured speakers include:

  • Susan Assouline
  • Camilla Benbow
  • Linda Brody
  • Nicholas Colangelo
  • Elaine Hansen
  • David Lubinski
  • Matt Makel
  • Besty McCoach
  • Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
  • Jonathan Plucker
  • Sally Reis
  • Joseph Renzulli
  • Ann Robinson
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Robert Root-Bernstein
  • Michele Root-Bernstein
  • Del Siegle
  • Amy Shelton
  • Rena Subotnik
  • Joyce VanTassel-Baska
  • Frank Worrell

The Wallace Research Symposium for Talent Development is co-hosted by the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, and the Vanderbilt University Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. For more information and to register, please visit belinblank.org/wallace. For questions, please contact wallace@belinblank.org.

A New Summer Opportunity for High School Artists and Writers

We are excited to announce our new Summer Art Residency and Summer Writing Residency!  Spend 3 weeks this summer in an immersive art or writing residency on one of the premier arts campuses in the US.   Participate in classes, workshops, evening tours, lectures, and events that will stretch you as an artist or writer. The residency concludes with an art and reading show and a portfolio review. Priority will be given to students who have participated in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  Applications are currently being accepted.

Summer Art Residency

Summer Writing Residency