8th Grade Academy

Explaining the normal Identification process for 8th Grade Academy:

Identification for 8th Grade Academy: The 8th Grade Academy program is designed for students who are academically prepared to accelerate their learning by one grade in three subjectsAttendance/Acceptance is limited.  The middle school intervention teams and the Academy intervention team work collaboratively and carefully to consider students individually to help ensure placement in this program for students who are most discrepant from their peers. These criteria include:

  • Performance on standardized assessments (Iowa Assessments) in reading, mathematics, and science
  • Grades in core subject areas
  • Placement in mathematics
  • Gifted/Talented identification
  • Teacher recommendation

Read more about the Selection Process by clicking: 8th Grade Student Identification Timeline

Read more about how Identification Scores are calculated: This is an overview of the process 8th Grade Ident Scores Overview

More detailed information about each component of the Identification scores are here:

8th Grade Ident Scores External Assessments

8th Grade Ident Scores Internal Assessments

8th Grade Ident Scores Teacher Recommendations

High School Credit Options for 8th grade students:  8th grade students who earn a semester grade of A or B in an Academy class will automatically get high school credit.  However, there are times when a student does not want to get credit for a B and times when a students with a C wants the credit.  This document explains the factors in making that decision.  Parents have 2 weeks after semester grades are posted to decide if they want an exception to our automatic policy.  8th Grade Credit

Students in the 8th Grade Academy take three academic courses at the high school level.  All students must take English.  Students then study two additional subjects with classes in mathematics, science, and/or social studies available. Students may elect to receive high school credit upon successful completion of each course. Course options for 8th grade students are:

  • English: Language, Literature, & Composition (equivalent to English I)
  • Mathematics*: Algebra I, Geometry, Radically Accelerated I, or Algebra II
  • Science: Conceptual Physics & Environmental Science (one semester of each class will prepare students for Accelerated Chemistry and Accelerated Biology in 9th grade)
  • Social Studies: US Government^ & Current Issues

*A placement exam will be given to determine mathematics course placement.

^This course satisfies the State of Iowa and Des Moines Public Schools’ graduation requirement for US Government.



Interesting Fact: 38% of current 10th grade students in the Academy’s Gifted Core Pathway did not attend as 8th graders.  Children mature and develop at different rates.  Some students need an extra year at a normal pace to hone skills and develop talents so that they are genuinely ready to accelerate.  Putting a student in an accelerated class too soon can damage the student’s skill development and growth.  The middle school intervention teams and the Academy Intervention team are working collaboratively and carefully considering students individually for placement in this program for students who are discrepant from their peers.  Not attending Academy in 8th grade does not rule out the option to attend later.



Click on this link to see download information about all Academy programs:  Scheduler’s Guidebook to the Academy