The program, which develops collaboration, research, and analytical writing skills in high school students, consists of two courses taken in sequence
BATTLE GROUND — Beginning next year, Battle Ground High School (BGHS) students can get an idea of what it is like to do college research and potentially earn the college credit that goes with having acquired such a skill set.
Battle Ground High School will offer the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone diploma program. The program, which develops collaboration, research, and analytical writing skills in high school students, consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research.
“We are excited to be an Advanced Placement Capstone School,” said Principal Mike Hamilton. “This program is a unique opportunity for students to distinguish themselves to colleges and universities as well as prepare themselves for lifelong learning. It also speaks to our school’s commitment to increasing student access to advanced placement courses and academic rigor.”
Currently, only 33 high schools in Washington state offer the nationally-recognized program, which was developed in partnership with college faculty, admissions officers, and the College Board. The program was established in 2014 at 114 schools in the U.S. In just four years, the program has grown to include approximately 1,500 schools worldwide.
The AP Seminar course, typically taken by sophomores or juniors, helps students examine current issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn to analyze the strength of an argument; work to understand and evaluate opposing viewpoints; interpret and synthesize information; and construct, communicate and defend research-based arguments to support their conclusions.
BGHS English teacher Daniel Hidden will teach the AP Seminar course next year. Hidden has the flexibility to choose research topics based on students’ interests. Students taking the class will be assessed through both individual and team projects and a year-end AP exam.
So far, 61 students have signed up to take AP Seminar in the fall.
“We were hoping to have at least one full class the first year,” said BGHS history teacher and AP coordinator Adam Horn. “But now we could have three. We’re pleased with the response from students and are excited to offer this engaging and challenging learning opportunity.”
The second course in the capstone sequence is AP Research. This course is typically taken by seniors, with AP Seminar as a prerequisite. Students in AP Research dive deep into an academic topic, problem or issue of individual interest. After selecting a topic, students design, plan, and conduct a year-long investigation. The students document their process by developing a portfolio of work, building on the skills developed in the AP Seminar course by further learning how to understand research methodology; employ ethical research practices; and collect, analyze, and synthesize information to build, present, and defend an argument.
“A big focus of the AP Research class will be collaboration with peers and developing intellectual maturity that will give students the skills they need to be successful in college and in their professional lives,” Horn said. “The AP Capstone program is deliberately broad and teaches skills that are valuable not only for college, but also are important life skills.”
Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exams 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. In addition, students might also earn college credit for the AP courses they complete while in high school.
Alternatively, students can earn an AP Seminar and Research Certificate by completing these two courses with AP exam scores of 3 or higher, but without taking the additional four AP courses required for earning the AP Capstone Diploma.
“Completing the AP Capstone program helps prepare students for college and beyond in several ways,” Horn said. “Not only do they get a head start by earning college credit while they’re still in high school, but they’ll also stand out on college entrance and scholarship applications and will have the academic and research skills to be successful after high school.”
Information provided by Battle Ground School District.