AP Capstone

Written by Brianna Barron

Recently, I interviewed Mr. Przekwas about AP Capstone, which is a program available to all students here at SPHS. I asked him questions about what it’s about and the benefits of completing it. If you’re interested in joining Capstone next year, starting in sophomore year, or just simply want to know what’s it about, then this article is for you. Here are some of the questions that were asked and his responses to them:

Question 1: “What’s AP Capstone and what are the requirements?”

Answer: “Capstone is the College Board program designed to increase student’s ability to think, write, and conduct research at the collegiate level. Students undertake two classes: AP Seminar and AP Research, and they must pass the courses as well the AP exam at the end of those courses to earn a certificate saying that they’re competent enough to do high level academic research at the collegiate level. If students pass four other AP course tests they receive a AP Capstone diploma, which is the highest honor a student can receive; it’s the pinnacle of high school achievement besides the regular high school diploma.”

Question 2: “Why do you think students should pursue the Capstone diploma and/or certificate?”

Answer: “…The Capstone program brings us back into an awareness of not just that functionality, but also it brings us to the future of education in a positive way. So much of education you’ve been told that you can’t do, or that you must do it this particular way. We finally have a class where you’re told ‘yes you can do this, yes you can explore this creative outlet, yes you can research what you want to research.’ There is no wrong way to do things, generally, in this class. The only wrong way to do things is to not have a sense of creativity and not have a sense of inquiry. So, it brings us back to what education really should be all about, which is the student’s desire to learn something that they once didn’t know before.”

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Question 3: “What’s the passing rate for AP Seminar and AP Research?”

Answer: “The pass rate for AP Seminar is one of the highest, from last year 2018 it was 89%, although AP Research is an unknown rate for now.”

Question 4: “How many colleges accept Capstone?”

Answer: “Nearly all of the colleges in the Florida system, most of the ivy league schools are considering it for acceptance as well and credit. As well out west, like the California State school systems are accepting Capstone. Many of the most rigorous, highly academic and selective schools are looking for this.”

Question 5: “What’s AP Seminar like? And what’s AP Research like?”

Answer: “AP Seminar is the theory and the practice before you get to Research, while AP Seminar teaches you the skills and presentation, how to design a presentation, how to interact with the text from a very unique and academic perspective, looking at author’s argument, their line of reasoning, their evidence, looking at it from a very specific point of view, and being able to integrate that information into a paper, and being able to present that information as well. AP Research is the application of AP Seminar’s theory, in which students will choose a topic that is of interest to them, whether it’s a STEM related topic or an academic related topic, they will explore that with a mentor outside of the school system, they will have a tremendous amount of independent movement and practice.”

Question 6: “What are the AP tests like?”

Answer: The AP test for AP Seminar is an EOC that the students take in May, and is a two-hour written exam. It compromises two particular types of questions: they have to read and synthesize documents in one and they have to evaluate the author’s argument and evidence in another. Although, there is no end-of-course exam for AP Research, instead it’s the combination of their entire year: so, it’s a 5,000 word essay with a twenty minute presentation in oral defense.

Question 7: “How are you maneuvering the schedules around to fit AP Seminar next year? Are you keeping online AP Lang.”?

Answer: “Yes, we’ll be keeping online AP Lang. I’ve learned to adapt a little bit on how that will work, it is a work-in-progress, but we’ve learned a lot on what students have done this year, what they need to be successful, and there will be still some changes to that. AP Lang for the current year sophomores will not be online, it will be face to face. If any junior wants to take Seminar for the first time, they will probably have to take an online AP Lang class. Honors English II online will continue.”

Hopefully, from reading these questions and answers you have more of an idea and knowledge about AP Capstone and have become more interested in joining Capstone. Also, major thanks to Mr. Przekwas for taking his time and allowing us to interview him and answer our questions. If you have any more questions about Capstone that you’re still unsure about then you can always ask Mr. Przekwas, or email him.