AP Capstone Generates Success

By Abiha Naqvi ’18 and Ufaq Tahir ’18
AP Capstone Seminar students had impressive results on the AP exam this year and the class has been opened to students in the Humanities track. Mr. Blaise and Mr. Dickinson are teaching the course to Humanities students this year.
AP Capstone is an English class that is offered to sophomores where they develop college-level writing and speaking skills through research papers and oral presentations.
Mr. Blaise said, “AP Capstone is supposed to engage students in doing research and gaining information about certain topics. It is also to find the credibility and reliability of a given source.”
Mr. Kamil Krasewski said, “The first year we taught the class, 94 percent of students got a three or higher on the exam. Last year, 98 percent of students got a three or higher.”
Mr. Blaise said students had high test scores because they are given the opportunity to write papers on topics they are passionate about. E v e r y freshman is given a chance to apply, but the competition and high standards will make it difficult to get in.
For Humanities students, acceptance into the class relies on English, reading and writing, and Social Studies scores. The English Department is selective with grades and students’ skills. However, for freshmen in the medical track, the qualifications were different.
Alma Samarxhiu ’18 said, “Before, the criteria was to have a 90 average or above in math and science for AP Science Research and AP Capstone. Later on, we were told we were placed because we were in the top 10 percent of the class.”
Towards the end of the year, there are two presentations students need to make: an in-
dividual presentation and a group presentation. 
“The final product is a ten-page research paper, and they have to do an 8-10 minute presentation on. It’s similar to a TedTalk, so it’s a good experience in public speaking,” said Mr. Krasewski.
Former students felt the class had benefited them because they were able to gain new skills.
Saba Iqbal ’18 said, “My experience in the class was pretty amazing. I was able to look into STEM-based careers and write my own research papers through social, historical, and economic perspectives.”
Camelot Pham ’19 said, “I thought I knew how to present before, but after taking this class I realized there’s a proper way to present and write research papers.” 
Elmosbah said this class broadens your thinking and allows you to better connect with society by interacting in both social and science skills. Even though the class focuses on
key topics mostly in science, students are encouraged to select their own topics in
history, math, or art, which makes the class student-centered. However, this became
a challenge for some students to overcome.
“It was difficult to come up with a research topic because it had to be unique, but also
interesting,” Iqbal said. “It was also challenging to find the right credible scholarly sources to cite evidence from.”
Students agree with AP Capstone teachers that allowing Humanities students to take the course is a good idea.
Halima Kahramonova ’18 said, “Opening AP Capstone to Humanities students is a wonderful idea because many issues presented aren’t science related. Most of the papers were on topics like the gender pay gap, immigration, and eating disorders.”
Some students caution this AP Capstone Seminar has a heavy workload, but it was rewarding because it boosted their confidence in presentations and their writ-
ing skills. They also claim it made them college-ready and helped them gain knowledge about real-world problems.
 
Correction: On the printed version, Mr. Blaise’s named is misspelled as “Blaze” not Blaise. 

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