Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Program
Wilson High School is proud to offer the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Program. Wilson High School applied to participate in the program to provide our students with rigorous and relevant coursework that will prepare our students for post-secondary education and future careers. We were fortunate enough to be one of the only schools in Pennsylvania to be selected to offer the program.
The Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Program is a College Board endorsed innovative program that equips students with independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills valued by colleges. The Program is based upon two Advanced Placement courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. AP Seminar emphasizes critical skills needed for college and beyond. AP Research compliments the in-depth subject matter study in Advanced Placement courses. Students can select any content area to explore for their research including the Humanities, the Arts, the Sciences, Technology, and much more.
Students typically take AP Seminar in the 10th or 11th grade, followed by AP Research in 12th grade. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma™. This signifies their outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Alternatively, students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™ signifying their attainment of college-level academic and research skills.
The AP Capstone Program empowers students to:
- Synthesize information from multiple perspectives
- Apply skills in new situations and cross-curricular contexts
- Collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision
- Craft, communicate and defend evidence-based arguments
- Practice disciplined and scholarly research skills while exploring relevant topics that appeal to their interests and curiosity.
Students enrolled in the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Program are required to complete AP Seminar and AP Research courses. Students must enroll in AP Seminar first in order to enroll in AP Research as a senior.
AP Seminar is a 1-credit, year long course for sophomores, juniors, or seniors that entails a team project and presentation, research-based essay and presentation, and end-of-course exam administered and scored by the College Board. In this foundational course, typically taken in grade 10 or 11, students develop and strengthen analytic and inquiry skills, exploring two to four relevant issues chosen by the student and/or teacher. Students learn to consider an issue from multiple perspectives, evaluate the strength of an argument, and make logical fact-based decisions. Students will question, research, explore, pose solutions, develop arguments, collaborate, and communicate using various media.
Themes and Topics
Themes that allow for deep exploration based on student interests, local and/or civic issues, global or international topics, and concepts from other AP courses are typically selected. For example, students might explore the question of whether national security is more important than a citizen’s right to privacy; or whether genetic engineering is a benefit to society.
During the course, students complete a team project, an individual paper and presentation, and take a written final exam. The AP Seminar Exam score is based on all three components and is reported on the standard 1–5 AP scoring scale.
(Note: A student who takes AP Seminar as a 12th-grade elective would not be able to take AP Research)
AP Research is a 1-credit, senior, year long course that entails a research process documentation, an academic thesis paper, and public presentation and oral defense. AP Seminar is a prerequisite for AP Research.
The second course in the AP Capstone experience allows students to design, plan, and conduct a year-long research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest. Through this inquiry and investigation, students demonstrate the ability to apply scholarly understanding to real-world problems and issues.
Students further the skills developed in AP Seminar by understanding research methodology, employing ethical research practices, and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information to build, present, and defend an argument. Students may choose to:
- Dig deeper into a topic studied in an AP course
- Work across academic areas with an interdisciplinary topic
- Study a new area of interest, perhaps one for further study at the college level
At the end of the research investigation, students submit an academic thesis paper of about 5,000 words, present their thesis, and orally defend their work. The AP Research Exam score is based on the paper, presentation, and defense, and is reported on the standard 1–5 AP scoring scale.
Advanced Placement (AP) Seminar and Research Certificate
Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate from the College Board. Students may earn college and university credit for their achievement on AP Exams.
Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma
Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four (4) additional AP Exams of their choosing during their academic career will receive the AP Capstone Diploma from the College Board. Students may earn college and university credit for their achievement on AP Exams.