Professional Development


Testing, Testing: Is This Student Ready to Skip a Grade?

Friday, November 10
1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Location: 208 A

How can decisions about grade-skipping or subject acceleration be made in a fair and objective manner? The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) is a research-supported tool that helps educators and parents make well-informed decisions about acceleration for K-8 students. This tool has been used in hundreds of schools over the past 20 years. In this practical session, presenters focus on tests that are useful in completing the IAS and making acceleration decisions. These include intelligence tests, grade-level achievement tests, and above-level aptitude tests. Individual and group tests are included in the discussion, and case studies illustrate the process.

Joyce Goins

Licensed Psychologist
Belin-Blank Center/The University of Iowa

Dr. Joyce Goins is a Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Goins currently works at the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in their Assessment and Counseling Clinic at the University of Iowa. Dr. Goins works with twice-exceptional students. She administers comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations and conducts therapy with this population. Dr. Goins is also an adjunt professor with the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Iowa. Dr. Goins earned her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa. She obtained her Bachelor's degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Goins' specialty area includes attention and learning concerns in twice-exceptioanl children and adolescents. Dr. Goins is also a member of the Iowa Psychological Association and she is an active member of their finance committee.


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Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik

Administrator, Acceleration Institute & Research
Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development

Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D. is the Administrator for the Acceleration Institute and Research at the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa ( She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University and then completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship with the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Johns Hopkins University. She was an Assistant Professor and Director of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at the University of North Texas from 1989 to 1991 and the founder and Director of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students (C-MITES) at Carnegie Mellon University from 1992-2014. Her research interests include acceleration of gifted students and identifying mathematically talented students younger than age 12 and studying their characteristics and academic needs. She has published many articles on gifted education in scholarly journals. Together with Dr. Susan Assouline, she wrote Jane and Johnny Love Math: Recognizing and Encouraging Mathematical Talent in Elementary Students and Developing Mathematical Talent: A Guide for Challenging and Educating Gifted Students. She is also a co-author of the Iowa Acceleration Scale with Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Jonathan Lipscomb, and Leslie Forstadt. Additionally, she is co-editor of the 2015 report, A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America's Brightest Students, Vol. 2, with Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, and Joyce VanTassel-Baska.


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Megan Foley Nicpon

Associate Professor / Associate Director for Research and Clinic
University of Iowa

Megan Foley-Nicpon is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at The University of Iowa and a licensed psychologist and researcher at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Dr. Foley-Nicpon’s research and clinical interests include assessment and intervention with twice-exceptional students, particularly gifted students with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and emotional/learning difficulties, and the social and emotional development of talented and diverse students. She has over 40 referred articles and book chapters in the areas of gifted, counseling psychology, and twice-exceptionality, and numerous presentations at international, national, and state professional meetings. Awards include the NAGC Early Scholar Award, AERA Research on Giftedness, Creativity and Talent Path Breaker Award, AERA Division E Outstanding Research Award in Human Development, and, twice, the MENSA Research Award, MENSA Education & Research Foundation.


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Testing, Testing: Is This Student Ready to Skip a Grade?

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