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University of Iowa News Release

June 27, 2005

NOTE: This is a corrected version (July 14, 2005) of the release.

UI Recognizes Top 25 Iowa Schools For Advanced Placement Participation

A University of Iowa center dedicated to gifted education has identified 25 high schools in Iowa that are doing an exceptional job of giving students opportunities to take Advanced Placement exams, whose successful completion can markedly improve a student's chances of doing well in college.

The "Iowa AP Index for the Top 25 Schools" is based on data collected in 2004. The UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development plans to re-rank schools annually.

To view the index, which includes the top 25 schools as well as a second tier of schools ranked 26-50, visit The rankings are also listed at the end of this release.

Regina High School, a small parochial school in Iowa City, was ranked No. 1, with 60 graduating seniors and 117 AP tests administered last year. The remaining top five schools were George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, with 330 graduates and 480 AP tests; John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, with 377 graduates and 395 AP tests; West Senior High School in Iowa City, with 377 graduates and 381 AP tests; and Norwalk Senior High School in Norwalk, with 126 graduating seniors and 120 AP tests.

The Belin-Blank Center will present Certificates of Recognition to the top 25 schools and to the second-tier schools. The top 25 schools also will be honored during the center's annual recognition ceremony, which is held in October of each year.

The index includes schools large and small, rural and urban, public and private, with student populations that are fairly well off financially and those that by federal definition live below the poverty line. What binds them together, says Belin-Blank Center Director Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D., is a shared commitment to providing students with opportunities to excel academically.

"The AP Index recognizes schools for providing AP opportunities and students for their willingness to step up to a high academic challenge," Colangelo said. "Also, the Index provides a fair comparison of AP opportunity across school size. A high AP Index means that a school is offering AP courses and the school has developed a culture whereby students are encouraged to take AP courses and exams."

Developed by The College Board, AP allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school and is considered one of the most successful and respected academic programs in the nation. More than 3,000 colleges accept AP exam scores for either college credit or placement in higher-level courses. Last year, more than 1 million high school students nationally took almost 1.9 million AP exams.

Numerous studies have touted the advantages of AP. AP test scores have been found to be excellent predictors of college grades and likelihood of graduation. In a 1999 study, U.S. Education Department researcher Clifford Adelman suggested that simply taking AP courses and exams -- even if exam scores were average -- provided students with advantage in terms of higher graduation rates from college. More recent research has shown the considerable benefits AP courses and exams offer minority students and those living below the federal poverty line.

The Belin-Blank Center has been one of Iowa's largest supporters of AP, and its efforts appear to be paying off. Just a few years ago Iowa ranked among the lowest in terms of AP participation. In 2001, with the support of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the Belin-Blank Center, the UI College of Education and the Iowa Department of Education, received federal funding to establish the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA) to provide online AP courses and exams at no cost to all high school students in Iowa, with a special focus on rural schools.

Since 2001, IOAPA has seen the percentage of schools with access to AP increase dramatically, moving Iowa up 10 spots from 45th to 35th in the nation. IOAPA increased the number of Iowa high schools that offer AP exams from 156 in 2001 to 208 in 2004. In 2001, 5,995 AP exams were taken by 4,069 Iowa students and in 2004, 8,192 AP exams were taken by 5,425 Iowa students.

"These are rather dramatic changes in only four years," Colangelo said. "Perhaps what is most striking is that while the number of schools in Iowa offering AP and the number of Iowa students taking AP exams increased dramatically from 2001 to 2004, the performance on the AP exams for Iowa remains high. In 2004 Iowa students ranked eighth in the nation with 69 percent of its students scoring at a level of 3 or better on the AP exams."

Additionally, the Belin-Blank Center annually offers its Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute, where teachers are prepared to deliver AP courses.

The Belin-Blank Center sees The Iowa AP Index as yet another tool schools may use to gauge their success at providing students with opportunities for academic advancement. The index is based on a formula that divides the number of AP exams taken by its students (of any grade) by the number of graduating seniors. This first report is based on the AP exams taken in May 2004 and seniors graduating in May or June 2004.

In 2004, Iowa had a total of 390 high schools (364 public; 26 non-public) and all were invited to participate in the index. The index includes 384 schools - or 98 percent -- of the state's high schools. The Belin-Blank Center did not receive the necessary information from six non-public schools to include them in the ranking.

The Des Moines Central Academy will receive special recognition by the Belin-Blank Center for its long tradition of employing AP courses and tests. But as a magnet school that draws top-performing students from other high schools, the academy functions differently from typical Iowa high schools and therefore was not included in the index.

"We want to acknowledge the exceptional leadership in AP of the Des Moines Central Academy and we congratulate its educators and students," Colangelo said.

EDITORS: Receipt of this news release indicates that someone from your coverage area has been included in the Iowa AP Index ranking. Those schools are listed below, with the top 25 listed first and the second-tier schools listed second. Information is listed as follows: rank, school, city, graduating seniors, AP tests administered and AP Index. Where the index score is the same for multiple schools, this is the result of rounding. The index was taken out to more decimal places to determine the rankings in very close ratios.

The Iowa AP Index for the Top 25 Schools (2004)

1. Regina Jr Sr High School, Iowa City, 60, 117, 1.95

2. George Washington High School Cedar Rapids, 333, 480, 1.44

3. John F Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids, 377, 395, 1.05

4. West Senior High School, Iowa City, 377, 381, 1.01

5. Norwalk Senior High School, Norwalk, 126, 120, 0.95

6. East Buchanan High School, Winthrop, 46, 41, 0.89

7. Ames High School, Ames, 376, 281, 0.75

8. Hempstead High School, Dubuque, 356, 251, 0.71

9. Spencer High School, Spencer, 155, 93, 0.60

10. Kuemper High School, Carroll, 112, 67, 0.60

11. BCLUW High School, Conrad, 39, 23, 0.59

12. Dowling Catholic High School, West Des Moines, 297, 174, 0.59

13. Muscatine High School, Muscatine, 305, 178, 0.58

14. Roosevelt High School, Des Moines, 351, 201, 0.57

15. Mid-Prairie High School, Wellman, 78, 43, 0.55

16. Pleasant Valley High School, Riverdale, 254, 138, 0.54

17. Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf, 337, 183, 0.54

18. Lisbon High School, Lisbon, 36, 19, 0.53

19. Ankeny High School, Ankeny, 386, 201, 0.52

20. West Liberty High School, West Liberty, 73, 38, 0.52

21. Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, 394, 205, 0.52

22 Sheffield-Chapin High School, Sheffield, 50, 26, 0.52

23. Johnston Senior High School, Johnston, 264, 137, 0.52

24. Xavier High School, Cedar Rapids, 184, 95, 0.52

25. Dubuque Wahlert High School, Dubuque, 184, 89, 0.48

The Iowa AP Index for the Top 26-50 Schools (2004)

26. Dubuque Senior High School, Dubuque, 314, 151, 0.48

27. Linn-Mar High School, Marion, 300, 144, 0.48

28. Columbus High School, Waterloo, 84, 40, 0.48

29. Iowa City High School, Iowa City, 330, 151, 0.46

30. West Bend-Mallard High School, West Bend, 44, 20, 4.45

31. Walnut Ridge Baptist School, Waterloo, 18, 8, 0.44

32. West High School, Waterloo, 338, 147, 0.43

33. Red Oak High School, Red Oak, 86, 37, 0.43

34. Prince of Peace College Prep, Clinton, 17, 7, 0.41

35. Oskaloosa High School, Oskaloosa, 196, 80, 0.41

36. Nevada High School, Nevada, 102, 39, 0.38

37. Villisca Comm High School, Villisca, 25, 9, 0.36

38. Montezuma High School, Montezuma, 39, 14, 0.36

39. West Monona High School, Onawa, 40, 14, 0.35

40. Urbandale High School, Urbandale, 306, 107, 0.35

41. Bedford High School, Bedford, 50, 17, 0.34

42. St. Ansgar High School, St. Ansgar, 59, 20, 0.34

43. Marshalltown High School, Marshalltown, 326, 110, 0.34

44. Ft. Madison (Aquinas) Catholic, Ft. Madison, 24, 8, 0.33

45. Assumption High School, Davenport, 109, 36, 0.33

46. Tipton High School, Tipton, 62, 20, 0.32

47. Clarke Comm High School, Osceola, 95, 30, 0.32

48. Moc-Floyd Valley High School, Orange City, 98, 30, 0.31

49. Winterset Senior High School, Winterset, 125, 38, 0.30

50. West Des Moines Valley High School, West Des Moines, 588, 177, 0.30

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,