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RHS begins AP Capstone Diploma

Russellville High School is now 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.

Of those 1,800 schools, RHS is among 14 in Alabama.

The program consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. Students who score a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and 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.

Russellville High School will start offering AP Seminar in fall of 2020.

“This innovative program gets a broader, more diverse student population ready for college and beyond,” said RHS Principal Jason Goodwin. “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. The addition of this program and these courses provides our students with enhanced options to challenge themselves to think critically while diving deep into high-level research-laden coursework.

“With Russellville High School being added to the elite list of Alabama schools participating in the AP Capstone Program,” Goodwin added, “I truly believe this will open yet another opportunity for success for the students of Russellville.”

In AP Seminar, typically taken in 10th or 11th grade, 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-of-course 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 project-based 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. “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.”

Goodwin said this is one more way to help students at RHS prepare for their futures after high school and be college and career ready.

“We want to offer our students every opportunity we can to be successful,” Goodwin said. “Whether it’s in academics, athletics, fine arts or a career-oriented field, when we have the chance to enhance our students’ learning and their educational experience, we’re excited to make that happen.”

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