State Policies in Iowa  

Iowa's state policy leaves local education agencies (LEAs) to determine whether and to what extent acceleration is permitted.

Grade-based Acceleration

Early entrance to kindergartenState policy does not permit. Iowa Code 282.3 states that students in Iowa must be five years old on or before September 15 to enroll in kindergarten.
Early entrance to 1st gradeState policy permits. In general, students must be six years old on or before September 15 to enroll in first grade. However, Iowa Code 282.3 states that younger children may be admitted to first grade at any time before December 31 if they attended school the year before or have demonstrated, based on approved evaluations, that they are capable of and would benefit from first-grade work.
Whole-grade accelerationNo state policy; up to LEA to determine.
Early high school graduationState policy leaves LEA to determine whether early high school graduation or alternate high school diplomas are offered. Specific graduation requirements and criteria for early graduation are set at the local level, but the state has established a minimum credit requirement. More information can be found on the Iowa Department of Education graduation requirements page.
Early entrance to collegeNo state policy. The NAASE program at the University of Iowa admitted students who had completed their junior year of high school for an early entrance experience in which they lived on campus and took courses with typical undergraduate students, but had access to additional supports not commonly offered in a university setting. This program is no longer accepting applicants.

Content-based Acceleration

Dual or concurrent enrollment in community college, college, or universityState policy specifically permits dual enrollment in high school and college for students in grades 9-12, and Iowa Code 282.26 allows students to receive high school credit for college courses. State and local education agencies, and a state reimbursement process, cover tuition for dual enrollment. Visit the Senior Year Plus page for more information on dual/concurrent enrollment programs in Iowa.
Middle school students permitted dual or concurrent enrollment in high school

State policy leaves LEA to determine whether dual enrollment in middle and high school is permitted, and whether students receive high school graduation credits for courses taken during middle school.
Advanced Placement®Iowa Code 261E.4 compels all districts to make AP courses available to students, either in person or through the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy, which provides access to AP courses for all accredited Iowa high schools at no cost to students or schools. Specific information about AP in Iowa is available on the Iowa Department of Education Advanced Placement page.
Talent SearchThe Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search is an above-level testing program for students in grades 4-9 who earn high scores on grade-level tests. The Office of Precollegiate Programs for Talented and Gifted (OPPTAG) is also involved in Iowa's talent search and offers programs for gifted students.
Credit by examination/proficiency-based promotion

State policy leaves LEAS to determine whether and to what extent proficiency-based promotion is permitted. Each LEA also determines methods of demonstrating proficiency, advancement options after proficiency, and whether students receive credit toward graduation for proficiency.
Other forms of content-based acceleration

Typically left to LEAs to determine. If you know of state-level code, please e-mail us.

Additional Information

State gifted & talented laws, rules, and legislation
Iowa Department of Education
Iowa Talented and Gifted Association

The information presented on this page was compiled from a variety of resources, including the State of the States in Gifted Education 2008-2009 (a report by the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted and the National Association for Gifted Children), Websites, professional literature, and personal communication. IRPA has not verified the accuracy of this information and does not warrant its accuracy or fitness of use for any purpose. Users should verify information prior to taking any action. Furthermore, the appearance of selected programs and/or resources does not imply an endorsement or affiliation. Programs and resources are highlighted for informational purposes only.