MHS capstone program adds new research course

Caps off to new program - The newly implemented AP Capstone Program and its classes

Courtesy of the College Board

‘Caps’ off to new program – The newly implemented AP Capstone Program and its classes

Liam Higgins, Editor-In-Chief

In a never-ending pursuit to expand educational opportunities for students, Massapequa High School has recently adopted the AP Capstone Program into its curriculum.
AP Capstone is a relatively new program introduced from the CollegeBoard—the organization which manages AP curricula and AP tests—and features two different courses: AP Seminar and AP Research.
The aim of these two courses is to prepare students for essential college skills including higher-level writing and research.
Students are able to choose subject matter in which they are interested and develop their skills through writing about and presenting their chosen interests.
In both classes, students are able to choose from a host of subjects to write about. AP Seminar, which was first introduced to MHS during the 2016-2017 school year, features several components—a group component and a stimulus-based individual component, both of which involve a written essay and a presentation, as well as a written test during AP weeks in May.
These three components all factor into the AP Score, which students receive in July. This score ranges from one to five, with one meaning a “no recommendation” for credit in that particular subject and a five meaning that the student is “extremely well qualified” in the given subject.
The AP Seminar course was remarkably successful at MHS with 95% of AP students receiving credit for the course, according to AP Seminar teacher Mrs. Starr.
“[AP Seminar] is student centered in that they are able to choose subjects that pique their interest, formulate a focused claim, and argue points they are passionate about,” Mrs. Starr said. “It is a course designed for students who are willing to explore controversial topics from different lens and perspectives with an open mind. It teaches students to get to the core of the issue and argue using credible sources.”
These skills translate into AP Research as well. However, whereas the AP Seminar course focuses more on college writing skills, the AP Research course focuses more on students learning how to create and present original research.
AP Research, which will see its first classes at MHS this upcoming school year, is the continuation of the Capstone program and has, as its prerequisite, AP Seminar. Research is more focused on one particular subject than in the case of AP Seminar.
In this class, each student chooses one subject to research throughout the entire year and then writes an essay more similar to a college thesis than a typical high school essay and creates a detailed presentation, both related to their given topic.
“This class is really going to build on the skills that students learn in AP Seminar, but it takes academic writing to a whole new level. It allows students to choose a subject they are interested in and explore those interests while writing a paper that resembles a Master’s thesis along with an oral defense,” AP Research teacher Mrs. Domenech said. “It’s an experience I really wish I had gotten at the high school level. Students who take AP Research are likely to be leaps and bounds ahead of their classmates in college.”
AP Research, in particular, prepares students for necessary college skills. Many colleges and universities throughout the country emphasize a strong commitment to research in subject matter that students find interesting, so having a course to prepare students to participate in such endeavors could help students not only in college admissions, but in their pursuits during college.

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