Higley High School to Participate in the College Board AP Capstone Diploma Program
Higley High School is one of approximately 1,500 schools worldwide to implement the AP Capstone™ diploma program ― an innovative program that allows students to develop skills that matter most for college success, such as 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.
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 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™.
Higley High School will start AP Seminar in the fall of 2019.
“This program supports our district vision of providing innovative courses that challenge our students and prepare them to attend any top university of their choice. The AP Capstone diploma is showing universities our students are seeking out the most challenging courses that will best prepare them for a successful future,” said Dr. Warren Shillingburg, Higley Unified School District's Associate Superintendent.
The AP Seminar course, typically taken in 10th or 11th grade, equips students with the ability to look at academic or 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. Teachers have flexibility to cover local, regional, national, and global topics relevant to their students, around themes such as education, innovation, sustainability, and technology. Students are assessed through a team project and presentation, an individual project and presentation, and an end-of-course written exam. By tapping into students’ personal interests, AP Capstone gives students from a wide range of backgrounds an entry point into stimulating coursework.
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 learning how to understand research methodology; employ ethical research practices; and collect, analyze, and synthesize information to build, present, and defend an argument.
“We’re 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.”
In partnership with the higher education community, the College Board developed AP Capstone so students can practice skills that will serve them well in college and career. Colleges and universities have voiced their support of the program.
“AP Capstone is a unique program that teaches skills we think are very valuable not only for college but life,” said John Barnhill, assistant vice president for enrollment management at Florida State University. “The ability to analyze, to critically think, and to present information is really wonderful, and I think both courses do a great job of preparing the student for the rest of their lives.”