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

For the first time ever, all five Des Moines high schools are listed among the state’s top 50 high schools on the 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 2012.

“This is a very significant validation of the 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 and more high-level 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 2013 Iowa AP Index, Des Moines high schools are ranked as follows:

  • Roosevelt is ranked 7th in the state. Roosevelt has been among the top 50 high schools every year since the AP Index was created in 2005. The school ranked 6th last year but has a higher score on the AP Index this year.
  • Hoover is ranked 26th this year, making the AP Index for the fifth time in the past five years. Hoover ranked 49th last year, and made the largest gain on the AP Index of any high school in Iowa this year.
  • North, the state’s largest 1:1 laptop school, is ranked 28th. This is the first time North has been listed on the Iowa AP Index.
  • Lincoln is ranked 30th in the state. This is the first time Lincoln has been on the AP Index since it ranked 45th in 2006.
  • East, the state’s largest high school, is ranked 36th. This is the first time East has been listed on the Iowa AP Index.

In addition, Central Academy had the highest index score of any school in Iowa. While “magnet schools” are not included 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 put 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 doubled, and the number of AP exams taken by DMPS students increased nearly 80% between 2011 and 2012: 





Central Academy




East High




Hoover High




Lincoln High




North High




Roosevelt High








In May of 2013, more than 2,000 AP exams will be taken by DMPS students.

“In expanding our Advanced Placement classes, Des Moines Public Schools has made it a priority to ensure that all students have the opportunity to access this challenging, rigorous coursework to be better prepared for higher education,” said Amber Graeber, the district’s Advanced Placement and Social Studies Coordinator. “Our students, as well as their teachers, should be applauded for stepping up and taking advantage of this first-class educational opportunity.”

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. Last year, 10,443 Iowa students took at least one AP exam. Ten percent of those students, or 1,045, attended Des Moines Public Schools.

Additional information about the 2013 Iowa AP Index can be found at http://www.iowaapindex.org/.

DMPS-TV New Update on the Iowa AP Index and DMPS