Tag Archives: AP

Professional Learning Online

The Belin-Blank Center, in partnership with departments in the University of Iowa College of Education, offers a variety of online classes this summer.  While we would love to have you join us on campus for our Chautauqua course series, we know that many of those advocating for gifted/talented students benefit from the flexible online format.  Each of the online classes is offered for one semester hour of credit and are three weeks in length.  You can learn how to develop creativity in every learner, facilitate research projects, enhance your understanding of differentiation at the secondary level, and more!

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If you will be joining us on campus for the Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute, we offer your choice of two hours of academic credit; the Center provides a 50% tuition scholarship for those who take advantage of the graduate credit.

To see a full list of our summer course offerings, please click here: https://www2.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/educators/courses/schedule.aspx.

To get registered for classes please follow the steps listed here: https://www2.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/educators/courses/registration.aspx

We look forward to working with you as you pursue your TAG Endorsement through the University of Iowa!

Interested in IOAPA? Learn more about registration!

Registration for Iowa Online AP Academy 2016-2017 classes open in just one week (April 19), and many teachers want to register their students promptly to ensure access to these courses. Whether you are new to IOAPA or just need a refresher, take a look at the following handy registration guide for pointers on the registration process!

To register, visit our website (belinblank.org/ioapa). Be sure to read through the Getting Started section for important program information.  You will need to re-register your school each academic year.

When you’re ready to register, take the following steps:

  1. Register your school and assign a site coordinator and mentor. The first step is for principals to register their schools. They can do that on our website (belinblank.org/ioapa) by clicking on Register on the homepage. As part of this step, schools assign a site coordinator and a mentor. They can be the same person or different people; however, the mentor needs to be a certified teacher at the school. We’ll be discussing this difference more in future blog posts.
  2. Nominate the student(s) taking IOAPA course(s). Completing the school registration page sends the principal an automated email with a link in it to nominate the student. The principal either needs to complete the nomination or forward the link to the site coordinator or mentor to complete.
  3. Confirm that the student has self-enrolled in the course. Once the student has been nominated, an email will be automatically sent to the student to enroll himself/herself in the actual course. Be sure to have students check their junk mail folders, as the automated emails sometimes get filtered there. Students should complete this process and be sure to click submit when they’re done.

Middle school students should also take an above-level test to help determine eligibility, with scores considered current within the past two years. (For eligibility guidelines, see Requirements.) Learn more about above-level testing.

Questions? Check out our website (belinblank.org/ioapa) for further assistance!

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The 2014 Iowa AP Index

The Iowa AP Index was developed ten years ago by the Belin-Blank Center. The Index assesses Advanced Placement (AP) participation among accredited public and nonpublic schools in Iowa.

For the fifth consecutive year, George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids is the top Advanced Placement school in Iowa, according to the Index. Rounding out the top 5 schools behind Washington are John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Regina High School in Iowa City, Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, and Ames High School in Ames.

The Iowa AP Index is designed to give a fair comparison of AP opportunity across Iowa schools. 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 top 25 schools will be honored during the annual Belin-Blank Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 5, 2014, at the University of Iowa.

“Advanced Placement opportunities make a big difference in the lives of the students and their teachers. The rating reflects participation in the AP program at a school, not the overall quality of the school. However, one indication of a high school’s commitment to preparing high-ability students for college is access to advanced courses. Schools that make these opportunities available to the students are clearly committed to the success of the entire student body,” says Susan Assouline, director of the Belin-Blank Center.

The number of schools in Iowa offering AP opportunities and the number of AP exams taken has increased substantially since 2001, with 212 high schools having at least one student take an AP Exam and 14,629 AP Exams taken in 2013. In 2013, the percentage of Iowa exams with a score of 3 or higher was 64.7%, which compares favorably to the 2013 national average of 57.4%.

Through the Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA), funded by the State of Iowa, all accredited schools have access to free tuition for online AP courses and online AP Exam Review. During 2013-2014, Iowa’s 6th graders had access to free above-level testing, which indicates readiness for pre-AP advanced coursework. The Belin-Blank Center provides outreach and professional development for teachers through the College Board-accredited Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute.

To view the top 50 AP schools in Iowa, visit www.iowaapindex.org.

AP Mentors: What to Do When Students Struggle

The Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA) allows Iowa students to take APTM classes online.  IOAPA is especially meant for rural schools that do not have the resources to support APTM classes.  Educators can learn more here.

An IOAPA mentor provides guidance to students as they complete their APTM coursework, interact with instructors, and self-monitor progress across the semester.  Given this support role, what should mentors—especially those whose expertise lies in areas outside of their students’ APTM coursework—do to help struggling students?

Mentors may choose to do some research on their own or actively seek out training opportunities, as mentioned in a previous post.  However, we must stress that it is okay when a mentor cannot answer a question about instructional content.  A mentor should not take on the responsibilities of the student or the instructor.  Rather, he or she facilitates students’ growth toward independence.  Mentors should guide students toward tackling college-level content and toward approaching professors about difficult work on their own.

For example, a mentor can take the following actions to help a struggling student:

  • Ask the student whether he or she has already contacted the instructor.  If the student has not, provide encouragement to do so.
  • If the student has contacted the instructor but still appears confused, ask him or her if you could read through the instructor’s responses together.  Talking through the instructor’s reply may help the student better understand the information presented.
  • If the student is still unsure what to do next, you and the student can work through the instructor’s replies to determine which information specifically does not make sense.  Helping the student to explicitly communicate to the instructor where he or she feels lost may facilitate a productive interaction between instructor and student.

Although we hope that mentors can assist students in becoming more independent, we strongly encourage mentors to be cognizant of larger issues, like poor communication between student and instructor or technical issues.  In these cases, mentors should step in to not only support students but also to advocate for them.

Say Wut? Digital Tool Use Can Improve Ur Students’ Writing?

The Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA) allows Iowa students to take APTM classes online.  IOAPA is especially meant for rural schools that do not have the resources to support APTM classes.  Educators can learn more here.

In recent years, there has been concern that high school students are unprepared for college-level work, particularly in the area of writing.  As parents, educators, and professionals seek an explanation for this unpreparedness, it has been proposed that teenagers’ writing skills may be hindered by frequent use of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Some claim that use of these websites leads to reliance on “very compressed” language.  For example, the website Twitter may inadvertently encourage users to ignore rules of grammar and to opt for abbreviations rather than standard written English in order to fit a post into a limited number of characters.  This shortened and informal style can then trickle into academic writing, which is supported by anecdotal reports of student integrating “text speak” (e.g., ‘btw’ instead of ‘by the way’) into written work.  Yet research from the Pew Research Center suggests that digital technologies also positively influence students’ writing skills.

This past summer, the Pew Research Center surveyed Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers to better understand teacher perceptions about the impact of digital tools on student performance.  Their findings demonstrated that teachers are indeed concerned about the “creep” of informal style into formal academic writing.  At the same time though, teachers believe digital tools boost student creativity and personal expression while encouraging collaboration among peers.  In addition, letting students share their written work through online social mediums may even increase student motivation to create quality and unique written products.  Evolving technology appears to shape the way we perceive and utilize written language, but its influence may be more positive than initially thought.

How Can I Apply My Iowa Online AP Academy Scores at Iowa Colleges and Universities?

Enrollment in APTM coursework can be applied to many college and university graduation requirements.  The table below shows how the APTM courses offered through the Iowa Online AP Academy can be applied to the 6 largest colleges and universities in the state of Iowa.  The Iowa Online AP Academy is a program offered through the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa.

This information was compiled on August 16, 2013 from Office of Admission websites.  Check with the Office of Admissions to be sure this information is accurate and to determine how credit will be applied.

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Click on the table to see the full document.

 

Access to Advanced Placement Regardless of Geography

Dr. Clar Baldus

Dr. Clar M. Baldus, Administrator, Inventiveness, Rural Schools & Visual Arts Programs; Belin-Blank Center

More than 10,000 Iowa students have taken Advanced Placement classes online through the Belin-Blank Center’s Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA), based in the University of Iowa College of Education. Altogether, that translates into 2.7 million hours of homework completed and an equivalent of more than 30,000 college credits earned by students from the comfort and convenience of their local high schools.

Started in 2001, IOAPA is designed especially to serve students from schools in Iowa’s smaller, rural towns—such as Akron and Humboldt—to ensure that they have the same academic opportunities as students from larger, more competitive schools across the country. The online academy’s AP courses also give Iowa students a chance to measure themselves against a nationally rigorous, meaningful academic standard.

For capable and motivated high school students, AP courses and exams provide college-level coursework along with opportunities to earn college credit or placement.

A recent news release from the Iowa Department of Education credited IOAPA, in part, for the increase in participation and success among Iowa students.

And because of programs like IOAPA, geography will not dictate educational opportunity for Iowa students.