Diploma Program Focuses on College-Level Research, Collaboration, and Presentation Skills Crucial for College and Career Success
Southern Door, Wis. (January 4, 2021) – Southern Door High School is one of approximately 1,800 schools worldwide to implement the AP Capstone™ Diploma program―an innovative program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for college success, such as research, collaboration, and communication. The program consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP® Seminar and AP Research.
Students who score a 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research, and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing earn the AP Capstone Diploma™. This signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Students who score a 3 or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research (but not on four additional AP Exams) earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.
The Southern Door Board of Education gave approval on December 15, 2020 for Southern Door to offer the AP Seminar in the fall of 2021. Superintendent Patti Vickman says, “This innovative program provides opportunities for a broader, more diverse student population ready for college and beyond. The program gives our teachers more leeway with curriculum choices, so their students can access more challenging coursework and sharpen their reading and writing skills. In surveying our students at Southern Door, there was interest shown by some of our students to be further challenged with a college-level research program.”
In AP Seminar, students choose and evaluate complex topics through multiple lenses; identify credibility and bias in sources; and develop arguments in support of a recommendation. AP Seminar is a project-based learning course. Official AP Seminar assessments include research reports, written arguments, and presentations completed during the academic year. Students complete the course by taking an end-ofcourse written exam in May.
In the subsequent AP Research course, students design, execute, present, and defend a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest. They build on skills developed in AP Seminar by learning how to understand research methodology; employ ethical research practices; and collect, analyze, and synthesize information to contribute to academic research. Like AP Seminar, AP Research is a projectbased course. Each student’s official AP Research score is based on their academic paper, presentation, and oral defense. There’s no end-of-course exam for AP Research.
“We’re 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. He adds, “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.”