More Iowa high-schoolers are taking Advanced Placement courses to prepare them for college. Iowa Department of Education spokeswoman Kathi Slaughter says the A-P classes are demanding “extras” for students ready to take on more. They’re higher-level courses that teach material at a faster pace, in more depth, than their high-school classes — which means basically they’re taking college level courses while they’re in high school.
Slaughter says the A-P classes aren’t for everyone. For instance if you’ve taken all the history courses in the school and the advanced courses offered there, the next step up is to take the Advanced Placement courses in History, to get the extra challenge such a student wants. While the classes are taken for high-school credit, often it’s a “weighted credit” that may give them additional points.
Students can then take an optional A-P Exam at the end of their course, and if they get out of a possible three points, many colleges will allow their AP course to qualify for college credit. Iowa has 385 public and private high schools, and 215 of those offer A-P courses. For the rest, there’s a highly-praised program offering them over the Internet. All across the state, even students in a rural area or attending a small school need challenging coursework, so the education department’s worked with the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center to provide an “A-P Online Academy,” which offers A-P coursework on-line for students, who can access any program on-line at any time. They get full high-school credit and can take the exam to try and qualify for college credits as well.
Iowa’s A-P exam scores rank the state 8th in the nation with more than 8,900 A-P students who took the exam last year. Our rising participation in the advanced-placement courses is in line with a national report this week that says the fifty-year-old A-P program’s growing