Lessons Learned for Advanced Placement Capstone Class

I had the opportunity to attend a week-long workshop covering the Advanced Placement Capstone courses provided by the College Board. I attended with the two classroom teachers who are the course instructors at my high school. As a new course for our building, I was grateful to learn more, engage in a variety of instructional activities, and work with the teachers from my building.

What Is AP Capstone?

The AP Capstone course consists of two classes: Seminar and Research. The courses utilize the QUEST Research Model. The model includes five stages:

  • Question and Explore
  • Understand and Analyze
  • Evaluate Multiple Perspective
  • Synthesize Ideas
  • Team, Transform, and Transmit

Like other research models, the QUEST model guides students to locate credible sources, evaluate those sources, and synthesize the information in various ways within a paper and/or presentation. Emphasis is placed on gathering all perspectives from credible sources. The College Board provides access to EBSCOhost for all students participating in the class. They encourage classroom teachers to reach out to librarians for additional resources.

Students take Seminar first, a year-long class. At this time, students learn to dig deeper into research skills. These skills are developed in the first semester and then utilized independently with the College Board prompts the second semester. The assessment involves two performance tasks and an end-of-course exam.

The second course, Research, dives into intense research, with students choosing one area to research in-depth. Students determine an area of interest and focus on a year-long investigation around that area. Using skills from the Seminar class taken the previous year, students are now ready to look at the methodology and results and draw conclusions from those results. Students complete a paper along with an oral defense at the end of the course.

More information can be found on the College Board website.

AP Central Quote

What Is My Role?

The training I attended helped me realize the specific ways instruction can occur throughout individual and collaborative research projects. I plan to collaborate with the classroom teachers and instruct on various research skills and presentation skills for the AP Capstone course.

I will update the library website with specific links with a variety of subscription databases provided by the district, building, and state. Students will receive instruction about how to access the databases, keyword searching, and how to determine gaps in their resources. Click here to view the updated Libguide for AP Seminar.

These lessons with the AP course will take place during the first semester when students are gaining the needed skills. During the second semester, I will be available to discuss first semester lessons as a review, but not directly help with the prompts available.

With students in Research, I am available to students to guide students through research questions involving the research process. I also assist the classroom teacher in finding academic sources for instructional purposes.

The College Board provides many online resources to learn about AP Capstone. See the links below for additional information.

For librarians in buildings with this class, what resources do you provide? Do students utilize Noodletools or other research tools? What is your role?

Author: Becca Munson

Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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3 replies

  1. Last year I taught library lessons to the AP Seminar class and this year I added one for the AP Research class. I’ve been so excited to be involved in this program and the students and teachers are thrilled to have someone to support them in their research. You give a great outline of the program!

  2. I was the roster-carrying teacher for AP Seminar for our first three years of implementation (we were one of the first schools), now I provide support and carry the roster for AP Research. It’s an interesting balance, but AP Capstone students generally appreciate work time in class, so when I have a visiting class they are told to be “quiet little mice” at the computers while I teach students at the tables. It’s such a fun program to be involved with!

  3. I am getting ready to start working with the AP Seminar class, and I am wondering if anyone has any lessons that have worked well for the course. I am excited to have the opportunity to be involved with this program, but it will be my first time working with them. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated!

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