Earning Your High School Diploma - Iowa

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Attaining a high school diploma in Iowa can get as confusing as one of the many cornfields in the state. Don't get lost in the state's 'maze' of requirements by reading this article and stay ahead by graduating!
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Iowa's many school districts are on the right path to success by improving high school curriculum and strengthening parent-teacher-teacher relationships. The state has an average of 13.9 students for every teacher, as compared to the national average of 15.9. More that 89 percent of adults over 25 years of age in the state have high school diplomas, compared to the national average of 82.8 percent. These numbers place Iowa schools above average when compared to the rest of the nation. It doesn't mean that there is no room for improvement; the state is constantly revising the school system to stay on top.

According to Iowa's Association of School Boards, the following minimum requirements must be met in order to get a high school diploma (these are averages for the state):

  • Four credits of English
  • Three credits of social studies
  • Three credits of mathematics

It is recommended that each student strongly consider Advanced Placement courses to have a better chance at college acceptance. According to the Iowa Department of Education, most of the Iowa high school students who take Advanced Placement (AP) exams earn scores that are high enough to qualify for college credit. In 2005, Iowa students ranked eight in the nation with 6.72 percent of its students scoring at a level 3 or better, the benchmark indicator accepted by most colleges that allow AP for college credit.

The number of Iowa high schools offering AP classes and the number of AP exams taken have both reached record highs in the state. 213 of the state's 385 public and non-public high schools offered AP exams in 2004-05, and 8.986 exams were taken. Students can choose among 35 AP classes in 20 subject areas. The final exam is optional. All participants receive high school credit for each course, and those who take the exam can earn college credit if they earn a three or above on the one to five score scale.

Iowa aims to provide a variety of options to best prepare students for success beyond high school. High schools are encouraged to offer not only AP but also honors courses and dual credit courses in cooperation with local community colleges or 4-year colleges and universities.

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