AP Capstone Program

AP Capstone Program
Posted on 03/21/2017
AP CapstoneProgram


Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Bluffton High School tapped for specialized
AP program; Capstone is a new school choice

 BLUFFTON – Bluffton High School is one of only a few South Carolina schools approved to implement an innovative program that helps students develop skills valued by colleges and employers.

 The new AP Capstone program, scheduled to begin for the 2017-18 academic year, will become a new school choice in addition to Bluffton High’s current offerings of Project Lead the Way and Acceleration Academy. 

 AP Capstone is a special diploma program that allows students to develop their research, collaboration and communication skills by taking two Advanced Placement courses in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research.  AP Capstone is coordinated by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that manages SAT college entrance exams as well as Advanced Placement exams that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.

 “This is exciting for Bluffton High and as well as an exciting opportunity for our students to challenge themselves,” said Principal Denise Garison.  “AP Capstone will let them prepare not only for college but also for life.  They’ll become stronger communicators who can present their work more effectively, both individually and in groups.  Those are skills that colleges and employers want to see.”

Beginning next August, Capstone students at Bluffton High will take the two courses one after the other, starting with AP Seminar.  This course is usually taken in 10th or 11th grade and can vary in subject matter, which teachers choose in collaboration with students.  Students use different materials, such as research studies and philosophical texts, to answer complex questions, evaluate different viewpoints and interpret information.

Capstone students will take AP Research the following year, during which they will plan and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic.  Students will describe the process of choosing a topic, collecting information, analyzing that information and presenting and defending their arguments using through a portfolio.

To earn an AP Capstone Diploma, students must successfully complete both AP Research and AP Seminar courses that focus on independent research, collaboration and communication in small and large groups and presentation settings.  In addition, students must earn scores of 3 or higher on AP's five-point scale in both courses, as well as four other AP courses focused on specific disciplines. 

Bluffton High offers 15 AP courses in subjects that include English, U.S. History, calculus, chemistry, biology, physics, art, psychology, U.S. History and U.S. Government.  Bluffton High was the district’s top performer on AP exams last year, with 71 percent of AP students scoring high enough for college credit.

Only 1,000 high schools worldwide offer the AP Capstone program.  Four South Carolina schools currently offer AP Capstone: Brookland-Cayce High in Lexington District 2, Dreher High in Richland District 1, Ridge View High in Richland District 2 and Oakbrook Preparatory, a private school in Spartanburg.  Hilton Head Preparatory School also will offer AP Capstone for the 2017-18 academic year.

The College Board said that it developed AP Capstone based on feedback from college-level educators so students could practice skills that will serve them well in college and in their careers.

Jim Foster

Director of Communications

Beaufort County School District