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Pennridge to offer AP Capstone program


Starting in the fall, Pennridge High School will join approximately 1,800 schools worldwide by implementing the AP Capstone Diploma Program, a rigorous academic approach that allows students to develop the research, collaboration and communications skills that matter most for college success.

“This innovative program prepares a broader, more diverse student population for college and beyond,” said Dr. Kathy Scheid, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “It gives our teachers more leeway with curriculum choices, so their students can access more challenging coursework and sharpen their reading and writing skills.”

In Bucks County, only one other school district – Quakertown – offers high school students the AP Capstone Program, which consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research.

In AP Seminar, typically taken by students 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. A project-based learning course. official AP Seminar assessments include research reports, written arguments, and presentations completed during the academic year.

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.

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. 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.

Pennridge High School was among only 373 schools in North America (U.S. and Canada) honored by the College Board with placement on its ninth annual AP District Honor Roll.

In Pennsylvania, only 46 high schools earned the distinction. Closer to home, Pennridge was among four Bucks County School high schools to join the Honor Roll this year.

In May 2018, 355 PHS students, a 28 percent increase over the previous year, took a total of 645 AP exams in 21 subjects. 82 percent of those who took the test scored a 3 or higher. Their average score was 3.49 on a 5-point scale.

In addition to two National AP Scholars, the College Board awarded AP Scholar with Distinction status to 36 PHS students (average score of 4.16), AP Scholar with Honor status to 27 students (average score of 3.81) and AP Scholar status to 48 students (average score of 3.81).