CLARK, NJ — Students attending Arthur L. Johnson High School will soon take part in a selective program only available at approximately 1,500 schools worldwide.
Starting in fall 2018, students will be able to enroll in AP Capstone, an Advanced Placement program that will allow them college credit, and equip them with the tools to conduct university level research and a chance at a diploma.
The program offers two main courses to be taken consecutively: AP Seminar and AP Research.
Typical students taking these courses will be in the 10th or 11th grade, according to a Jan. 19 press release from Clark Public School District.
“We are excited for the Capstone program,” Clark Superintendent Edward Grande said in the release. “This new offering will allow our students to conduct research at a university level while still in high school, earning college credit for doing so, and a special diploma acknowledgement through the College Board.”
To receive the special diploma, a student must earn a score of a 3 to 5 in AP Seminar and AP Research, and a score of 4 or 5 in additional AP exams of the student’s choosing.
“This diploma signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college level academic and research skills,” Clark school board spokeswoman Christine Broski told LocalSource in a Feb. 5 email.
As an alternative to receiving the diploma, students who earn a score of 3 to 5 in the AP Seminar and Research course and take no additional AP classes will receive a certificate.
“The research certificate signifies the completion of both courses and indicates that a student has successfully completed a well rounded AP curriculum,” Broski noted.
The two courses will offer lessons on research studies and philosophical texts, providing students with the opportunity to take on complex questions, and to understand and evaluate differing viewpoints, the press release said.
Broski told LocalSource the program will “provide students with an opportunity to acquire independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges.”
“It cultivates curious, independent, and collaborative scholars and prepares them to make logical, evidence-based decisions,” she added.
Developed by College Board, the program was created using feedback from higher education faculty and college admissions officers.
The College Board is a nonprofit organization that devises educational programs that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.
“Most four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. grant credit, advanced placement, or both on the basis of successful AP exam scores, and more than 3,800 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores,” according to the school’s press release.
“In the last decade, AP participation and performance rates have nearly doubled,” the release stated. “In May of 2017, 2.7 million students representing more than 22,169 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 4.9 million AP exams.”