Hamilton High School is one of more than 600 schools worldwide to implement AP Capstone™, an innovative diploma program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for their future college success: research, collaboration, and communication.
The program includes a two-course 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 rigor of Advanced Placement® courses and exams.
Students completing AP Seminar and AP Research with scores of 3 or higher, and receiving scores of 3 or higher on four AP Exams in subjects of their choosing, will receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.
Students earning scores of 3 or higher on the two AP Capstone exams but do not take or earn qualifying scores on four additional AP Exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.
The program will be taught by Debbie Nipar Ed Anderson and Phyllis Carr, 2015 Chandler Unified School District Teacher of the Year.
“This innovative program prepares a broader, more diverse student population for college and career success, and also provides our teachers with flexibility in the curriculum to expand access to challenging course work and the development of important skills,” said Hamilton High School Principal Ken James. “The application process to be awarded the program is intense, but we knew the value of the program to our students.”
The AP Seminar course, typically taken in 10th or 11th grade, will equip students with the power to explore academic and real-world issues from multiple perspectives. Through a variety of materials — from articles and research studies to foundational and philosophical texts — students will be challenged to explore complex questions; understand and evaluate opposing viewpoints; interpret and synthesize information; and develop, communicate, and defend evidence-based arguments. Teachers have the flexibility of choosing themes based on student interests, whether they are local, regional, national, or global in nature.
Samples of themes that can be covered in the AP Seminar course include education, innovation, sustainability, and technology. By tapping into students’ personal interests, AP Capstone gives a broader array of students an entry point into challenging course work. Students are assessed through both an individual project and a team project completed during the year and a year-end written exam.
Video: AP Capstone: A Paradigm Shift from Content to Skills
The subsequent AP Research course will allow students to design, plan, and conduct a yearlong investigation on a topic of their choosing with support from experts at the university level or in the community. Students will build on the skills learned in the AP Seminar course by using research methodology; employing ethical research practices; and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information to present an argument. At the end of the course students have the confidence to present and orally defend their own scholarly academic research.
“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. “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.”
By responding to and partnering with the higher education community, the College Board developed AP Capstone to allow students to practice the important skills that colleges want. The program will prepare more students for the rigors of college and for success in future careers.
“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, Florida State University. “The ability to analyze, to critically think, 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.”
For more information, please contact:
- Ken James, Principal, Hamilton High School, (480) 883-500
- Steve Carr, The Kur Carr Group, Inc., (602) 317-3040
- The College Board, 212-713-8052; firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Advanced Placement Program
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies — with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both – while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn to think critically, construct solid arguments, and see many sides of an issue — skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students. Each AP teacher’s syllabus is evaluated and approved by faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement, or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores — more than 3,800 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores. In the last decade AP participation and performance rates have nearly doubled. In May 2014, 2.3 million students representing more than 19,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took over 4 million AP Exams.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.