St. John Paul II High School is one of approximately 1,000 schools worldwide selected to implement AP Capstone — an innovative diploma program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for college success: research, collaboration, and communication.
The program consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. Developed in direct response to feedback from higher education faculty and college admission officers, AP Capstone complements the in-depth, subject-specific study of other Advanced Placement courses and exams.
Because the program is a result of feedback from education professionals, it is not surprising that several colleges and universities have confirmed their support of the program.
Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on AP Seminar and AP Research assessments and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will earn the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies their outstanding academic achievement and attainment of both college-level academic and research skills. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on both AP Seminar and AP Research assessments only (but not on four additional AP Exams) will earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.
St. John Paul II High School will introduce AP Seminar in the fall of 2017.
“I am particularly impressed with the program’s sharp focus on critical thinking and research skills that complement and enhance the strong content-based approach we have implemented for years. The capstone program gives teachers and students more leeway with curriculum choices so that these skills complement their acquisition of rich content knowledge,” said Christopher Keavy, Head of School.
The AP Seminar course, typically taken in 10th or 11th grade, equips students with the ability to investigate real-world issues from multiple perspectives. Through a variety of materials — articles to research studies to foundational and philosophical texts — students tackle complex questions; understand and evaluate opposing viewpoints; interpret and synthesize information; and construct, communicate, and defend evidence-based arguments. Education, innovation, sustainability, and technology are examples of themes or topics covered in AP Seminar.
JPII teachers will have the flexibility to choose subject content based on student interests, whether local, regional, national, or global. By tapping into students’ personal interests, AP Capstone gives students from a wide range of backgrounds an entry point into stimulating coursework more than ever before. Students are assessed using a team project and presentation, an individual project and presentation, and an end-of-course written exam.
In the subsequent AP Research course, students design, plan, and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest, documenting their process with a portfolio. Students build on skills developed in the AP Seminar course by incorporating research methodology; employing ethical research practices; and collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing information to build, present, and defend an argument.
“We are proud to offer AP Capstone, which enables students and teachers to focus on topics of their choice in great depth,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president for AP and instruction at the College Board. He adds, “This provides terrific opportunities for students to develop the ability to write and present their work effectively, individually, and in groups—the very skills college professors want their students to possess.”