Getting Started: 1. Learn About IOAPA

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Program Information

The Iowa Online AP® Academy provides free online above-level courses to Iowa students who do not have access to traditional, brick-and-mortar versions of such courses. The program was designed with talented students from small, rural schools in mind, but it is not exclusive to that population.

Courses include AP® courses for high school students and high school-level courses for eligible middle school students. Middle school courses are not AP® courses; rather, they are AP-preparatory, intended to equip students with sufficient skills and background knowledge to be prepared for future AP® courses in high school. For help solving middle school course implementation issues, the links here will be useful.

We also provide free online, instructor-led AP® Exam Reviews each spring, available to any Iowa high school student whose school is registered with the Iowa Online AP® Academy.

We hold two annual registration periods: one in late fall (for courses to be started the following spring semester), and one in late spring (for courses to be started the following fall semester). To enroll students in Iowa Online AP® Academy courses, certain requirements must be met (see Requirements). If these requirements are met, the school’s designated site coordinator should then register the school and students .

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School Eligibility

  1. The school must be an accredited school in the state of Iowa. Home schooled students may take Iowa Online AP® Academy courses only if they sign up through an accredited Iowa school.
  2. The course must not currently be offered through the school district (or, in the case of middle school students, the course must not be offered at the student’s grade level).
  3. Iowa Online AP® Academy courses must be scheduled into part of the students’ regular school day. Schools should provide a designated time and space within the school building for students to work on each course.
  4. The school must not enroll more than 6 students per course.
  5. The school district must provide a course mentor (a teacher employed by the school district and licensed through the state of Iowa) and site coordinator (typically a TAG teacher or school guidance counselor) for their Iowa Online AP® Academy student(s). See below for details.
  6. The school district must provide lab space and equipment for all science courses (if applicable).
  7. The school must provide the needed technology and textbooks required for course completion.
  8. When students take the AP® exam at the end of the school year, the school or student must pay the exam fee.

Student Eligibility

High school

Students should be able to handle the academic rigor of a college-level course, as well as the self-discipline and motivation necessary for an online course. Additionally, students should not be over-committed in their curricular and/or extracurricular activities. Review suggested prerequisites listed in the course catalog and use pre-tests for AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Physics B, and AP Statistics.

Middle school

The following table outlines information for schools to help determine whether a middle school student might be a good candidate for Iowa Online AP® Academy courses.

Recommendation Measure Guideline
Very important* Above-level test
(6th grade: I-Excel; 7th-8th grade: ACT)
50th percentile or above
Very important* Any grade-level standardized tests taken within the last year
(e.g., Iowa Assessments)
95th percentile or above in the course content area
Important Teacher/parent confidence in student's readiness for challenging, independent, online coursework High confidence
Important Previous relevant coursework within the past two years Sufficient background knowledge/skills*
Somewhat Important Additional test scores
(e.g., CogAT, other IQ)
Well above average

Additional Policies

  • Full-year courses cannot be started mid-year.
  • Students who enroll in a full-year course are automatically enrolled in both semesters of the course. If a student does not wish to continue the course after completion of the fall semester, the school should let us know before the spring semester’s drop deadline. Schools who do not notify us before the deadline are subject to the cancellation fee (see below).
  • Students who fail the first semester of a full-year course will automatically be dropped from the second semester unless schools petition for an exception.
  • If a high school student chooses to drop an Iowa Online AP® Academy course more than 14 school days after the start of the course, the school will be assessed a $350 cancellation fee for each course he/she drops. Additionally, if a high school student is not active on his/her course for 21 consecutive school days, he/she will be dropped from the course and the school will be assessed the same $350 cancellation fee. The drop fee currently applies only to high school students.
  • If any student decides to drop a course, the site coordinator should contact the Belin-Blank Center to remove the student from the course. Please do not attempt to drop the student yourself.

Technical Requirements

  • For courses provided through Apex Learning, refer to the Apex technical requirements.
  • Refer to the Edhesive technical requirements for their AP and intro classes.
  • Edhesive requires the use of YouTube. For courses provided through Edhesive, schools should whitelist

Required School Personnel

Each school designates a site coordinator and a mentor. (These can be the same person, but do not have to be.) Site coordinators are typically teachers, TAG coordinators, and/or guidance counselors. Site coordinators are responsible for registering their school, enrolling students, making arrangements for course materials, and allocating time in the student’s regular school day and space in the school building for the student to work on the course.

Mentors must be licensed teachers in the state of Iowa. Mentors are responsible for proctoring exams/assignments, supervising students, and providing moral support encouragement, and assistance to students as needed. Mentors are not responsible for answering questions about course content; rather, they can encourage students to contact their course instructors. The daily face-to-face support of Iowa Online AP® Academy mentors is crucial to student success. As a small token of appreciation for this support, the Iowa Online AP Academy provides mentors with a stipend of $200 per semester, paid at the end of the school year. For more information relevant to site coordinators and mentors, please see our Site Coordinator and Mentor Handbook.

Required Course Materials

Required materials for each course can be accessed by visiting the Course Catalog and clicking through the course’s webpage.

School Agreement

Please be aware that schools must agree to the following policies. Your registration for course(s) indicates that you are aware of and do not object to these policies.

  • I understand that the school will be assessed a $350 course fee for each student dropping an Iowa Online AP® Academy course 14 or more days into the semester or the student has a period of inactivity of 21 consecutive school days. The 14 days will be counted from the start date set by the course vendor and the Belin-Blank Center.
  • I understand that the school may collect payment for the $350/course drop fee from the student’s family in order to pay the bill assessed by the Belin-Blank Center.
  • I understand that all science courses that include activities to be done in a laboratory setting, the Iowa Online AP® Academy and the course vendor requires that students do these activities only in a laboratory setting while supervised by a staff person qualified to supervise the laboratory activities.
  • I understand that the school is responsible for providing required textbook and other materials.
  • I understand that the school will appoint a mentor to help monitor student progress for students enrolled in online courses.
  • I understand that the school is responsible for registering with the College Board for Advanced Placement® exams and assigning an on-site proctor.
  • I understand that the Iowa Online AP® Academy and the course vendor will provide the school with progress reports, access to graded work, and a recommended final grade. The school retains all authority to determine the final grade assigned.
  • I understand that students completing an AP® course through the Iowa Online AP Academy via the course vendor should receive high school academic credit for the course from their school. Students can attempt college credit by taking the College Board Advanced Placement® exams in May.
  • I understand that online courses may be a new experience for students and school personnel. Because the courseware is delivered through the Internet, it is assumed that students and teachers will have basic computing experience, access to a computer that meets minimum hardware and software requirements, a suitable Internet connection and a personal email account. The cooperation of school personnel will help ensure smooth operation of the course vendor curriculum and technology.
  • I understand that online courses are provided as an option for Advanced Placement® courses that are not available at the school site. These courses are not intended to replace classes taught at the school site, nor are they intended to be a “virtual school” apart from the school program. Schools with more than a few students interested in a particular AP course are encouraged to seek AP® training for their staff.
  • I understand that the the course vendor Support Team will work quickly to resolve problems associated with the course vendor courseware, but they are not equipped to support school or home computers, printers, browsers, basic Internet connectivity, or personal email accounts.
  • I understand that participation in the Iowa Online AP® Academy via the course vendor courses is subject to the terms of the the course vendor Code of Conduct. Those who do not abide by this code are subject to removal.
  • I understand that Iowa Online AP® Academy/the course vendor adheres to the policies set by the course vendor’s Privacy Policy.
  • I understand that all products distributed by the course vendor are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or redistributed without express written permission.
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The Iowa Online AP® Academy covers all course fees for Iowa students, and schools provide the necessary course materials, lab equipment (if applicable), and technology required for course completion (see Requirements).

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Getting Started: 2. Talk to your administrators