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AP Capstone receives perfect pass rate from College Board

Katie Gilfillan, Staff Reporter

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In 2013, The College Board introduced a new program called AP Capstone. The main objective of this course is to prepare students for the independent research, evidence based decisions, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills needed in college. Last school year was the first year it was offered at Lake Brantley and there was a 100% pass rate in which all students who took the Capstone class earned a passing score.

AP Capstone is divided into two individual courses, AP Seminar and AP Research. Both classes are required for the Capstone graduation diploma. The AP Seminar class is a year-long course that has students explore real world issues from multiple point of views. The AP Research class gives students the opportunity to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, or issue of their choice.

“It’s to help students learn how to evaluate the quality of sources, evaluate the quality of evidence, use evidence based research to find conclusions and evaluate potential solutions and conclusions to their problems,” AP Seminar teacher Kent Kersten said. “It’s really a class that centers around good citizenship because in an era where everybody is questioning what’s real news and fake news, it’s all about evaluating what’s true and then taking a clear look at deep problems and then trying to figure out what is the most realistic way that we could address this problem.”

Since the primary goal of the AP Capstone program is to help high school students prepare for college level classes, the class is organized in a block schedule format. The purpose of this schedule is to give students a longer amount of time to be fully engaged in their work. The extended time also allows students to thoroughly read through other research and studies needed for their papers.

“The block schedule gives you more time to concentrate and do your work for both classes,” senior Anna Zakhary said. “I think it’s more useful in research because it does give you that time to do in depth work.”

The national exam for AP Seminar is dividedly scored by College Board and teachers. College Board grades the individual research reports, written argument, and analysis of argument and the teachers score the team presentation and defense, and the individual presentation and defense for AP Seminar. According to AP Research teacher Tracy Fitzgerald, this is the first year of the research class. College Board grades the research essay and teachers score the presentation and oral defense for AP Research. This gives student’s planning on attending college a stronger idea of how college level classes work.

“Sometimes it gets hard to get it scheduled in because it is a two-year program and it’s a block schedule,” Fitzgerald said. “But I absolutely think it will be beneficial to any kid going to college, I think they should really consider it.”

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AP Capstone receives perfect pass rate from College Board