by Anju Ito & Aminah Khan, Staff Writers

A student signs up to request for the AP Capstone class offered this this fall. Photo illustration by Aminah Khan

Starting this fall, Fountain Valley High School (FVHS) plans on adding a new Advanced Placement (AP) course to the curriculum known as AP Capstone.

Geared towards current freshmen and sophomores, this two-year-long course consists of an AP Seminar class taken the first year and AP Research in the second year, and students can choose any topic that they are interested in and dive into it throughout the whole year.

“I would consider any student who is passionate about a topic and want to put in the time and energy to pursue what they want. And topic can be anything—it can be global warming—The range of topic is amazing,” said Nancy Peterson, Assistant Principal of Special Education and guidance counselor.

Currently in the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD), two other schools, Westminster and Marina, are also offering these courses to students.

AP Capstone is endorsed by colleges all over the nation and can help to benefit the college application. In addition, some colleges including many California State Universities offer credit or placement for this course.

Students can also receive an AP Capstone Diploma upon completing the AP Seminar and AP Research tests with a score of three or higher in addition to taking four other AP courses and exams. If the students do not meet the additional AP course requirements but pass AP Seminar and AP Research, they can receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

In the AP Seminar course, students work on two projects throughout the whole year in addition to the end-of-year exam, which determines how students performed in the class.

In the first project, students work on team projects and perform an eight-to-ten minute presentation at the end, which account for 20 percent of their grade. Then, in the second portion, students write an individual, research-based essay and create a presentation as well, which account for 35 percent of their grade. Lastly, the final AP exam make up for the remaining 45 percent of their grade and consist of three short-answer questions and one essay based on reading documents.

Meanwhile, the AP Research course was designed to allow students to further research and investigate into their topic of interests. Students are given the whole year to design, plan and conduct their own research project that consists of a 4,000-to-5,000-words-long formal academic essay and a presentation with oral defense. As this course does not have any AP exam at the end, students are solely graded on their research with their scores calculated on a scale from one to five similar to other AP courses with the essay taking up 75 percent of the score and the presentation taking up 25 percent.

While any student can take the AP Seminar course, AP Research requires students to take the AP Seminar as a prerequisite. Peterson looks forward to adding these classes to FVHS and hopes that students will find AP Capstone as a beneficial class.


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