West Milford Township High School is one of approximately 1,000 schools worldwide to implement AP Capstone™—an innovative diploma program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for college success: research, collaboration, and communication. The program consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP® Seminar and AP Research. Developed in direct response to feedback from higher education faculty and college admission officers, AP Capstone complements the in-depth, subject-specific study of other Advanced Placement® courses and exams.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on AP Seminar and AP Research assessments and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will earn the AP Capstone Diploma™. This signifies their outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on both AP Seminar and AP Research assessments only (but not on four additional AP Exams) will earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.

West Milford Township High School will start AP Seminar in the fall of 2017. Paul Gorski, principal of West Milford High School, noted that the AP Capstone courses, AP Seminar and AP Research, will bring the high school’s Advanced Placement course total to 23, which cross several academic and elective areas.

“AP Capstone provides students an opportunity to engage their intellectual curiosity and pursue their academic passion," said Gorski. "Teachers will guide and advise students as they build college-level reading, writing and presentation skills, both personally and collaboratively with their peers. We are very excited to offer this opportunity to our Highlanders.”

The AP Seminar course, typically taken in 10 or 11 grade, equips students with the ability to look at real-world issues from multiple perspectives. Through a variety of materials — articles to research studies to foundational and philosophical texts — students tackle complex questions; understand and evaluate opposing viewpoints; interpret and synthesize information; and construct, communicate, and defend evidence-based arguments.

Students are assessed through: a team project and presentation, an individual project and presentation, and an end-of-course written exam.

In the subsequent AP Research course, students design, plan, and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest, documenting their process with a portfolio. Students build on skills developed in the AP Seminar course by learning how to understand research methodology; employ ethical research practices; and collect, analyze, and synthesize information to build, present, and defend an argument.