All Five DMPS High Schools on Iowa AP Index’s Top 50 List

hsapindexFor the second year in a row, and the second time ever, all five comprehensive high schools in Des Moines are listed among the state’s top 50 high schools on the Iowa AP Index, and Central Academy remains ranked as the top Advanced Placement program in the state.

Three DMPS high schools – Roosevelt, Hoover and North – are among the state’s top 20 high schools on the 2014 Iowa AP Index.

The Iowa AP Index, compiled by the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education at the University of Iowa, ranks how well Iowa high schools provide students with the opportunity to take high-level Advanced Placement courses. The rankings are based on the number of AP exams taken by students compared to the number of graduates from the spring of 2013.

“Once again this underscores the successful work we are doing in Des Moines to help all of our students become prepared for educational opportunities after high school,” said Superintendent Tom Ahart. “The jobs and careers of today and tomorrow require more high-level education, skills and training. From making AP courses available to students at all of our high schools to providing the ACT college exam free of charge, I am proud that our district is a leader in helping our graduates be ready for their next steps in education.”

According to the 2014 Iowa AP Index, Des Moines high schools are ranked as follows:

  • Roosevelt is ranked 4th in the state, its highest-ever ranking on the AP Index. Roosevelt has been among the top 50 high schools every year since the AP Index was created in 2005. The school ranked 7th last year.
  • Hoover is ranked 12th this year, its highest-ever ranking on the AP Index. Hoover has been among the top 50 high schools six of the past seven years. Hoover was ranked 26th last year and is tied for making the largest gain of any school in Iowa since last year’s Index.
  • North is ranked 18th on this year’s AP Index. North was ranked 28th last year, its first year on the AP Index. Its rank this year marks the third largest gain of any school in Iowa on the Index.
  • Lincoln is ranked 27th in the state. Last year Lincoln was ranked 30th, which was the first time since 2006 that the school was on the AP Index when it ranked 45th.
  • East is ranked 45th. This is the second year in a row East has been listed on the Iowa AP Index.

In addition, Central Academy had the highest index score of any school in Iowa on the AP Index. While “magnet schools” are not ranked in the Top 50 list, Central Academy was once again singled out for special mention by the Belin-Blank Center as the state’s leader in providing Advanced Placement opportunities for students.

Des Moines Public Schools has made a significant effort over the past few years to expand AP course offerings at all five comprehensive high schools. Enrollment in AP courses has more than quadrupled and the number of AP exams taken by DMPS students nearly doubled since 2011. The following table shows the number of AP exams taken at all five high schools plus Central Academy each of the past five years:




Central Academy




East High




Hoover High




Lincoln High




North High




Roosevelt High








Last year a total of 17,625 AP exams were taken in Iowa; 11.3% of those exams were taken by students in Des Moines Public Schools. (DMPS accounts for approximately 6.5% of the state’s K-12 public school enrollment.)

DMPS will set another record in 2014 for participation in AP exams; this week and next more than 2,500 AP exams are being taken by DMPS students.

“By aligning our work with the College Board’s goal of more equitable participation by all students in Advanced Placement courses, we’ve ensured that no artificial barriers exist for students having access to college-level coursework,” said Amber Graeber, Advanced Placement Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools. We’ve met that goal by increasing our AP course offerings, AP enrollment and AP exam participation. Now we focus on the goal that matters most, which is ensuring greater student success.”

The Advanced Placement program was created by the College Board in 1955 to offer a college-level curriculum and examination to high school students. Many colleges and universities provide credit to students who score a 3 or higher (on a scale of 1 to 5) on the AP exam.

Additional information about the 2014 Iowa AP Index can be found at

Video of Hoover on AP Index Ranking