Underclassmen at Malden High School who strive for the best tend to look ahead of their freshman year because being promoted to the next year means having more opportunities to study in higher level courses. Especially AP courses where close the end of the school year you are given a chance to utilize what is taught all school year in an exam in efforts to acquire a qualifying score of a three, four, and five.

In the last few years, almost all students who took part in the AP Capstone Program (AP Seminar and AP Research) received qualifying scores.  For students who took AP Seminar, this is the second year in a row in which students acquired a qualifying score out of the three years the course has been available at the high school. For AP Research, students all received qualifying scores for three years in a row, all but one out of a class of 15 in the last two years.

According to Jennifer Clapp, an English teacher at Malden High School, AP Seminar is “an interdisciplinary class which means it has a little bit of science, history, art, literature and economics.” The skills include research, collaboration, argumentation and presentation which means students have to find something that they are interested in, find and evaluate information about that topic, develop an argument based on that topic and then be able to present it.

All year, Clapp has been encouraging the students to help each other. That is because the  AP Capstone classes are nothing like any other English AP classes nor AP classes in general according to AP Research teacher and Play Production advisor Sean Walsh. Both Walsh and Clapp attest that students who participate in the AP Capstone program receive little help from the teachers. With the classes being “individualized… it requires self-motivation, interest, as well as interdisciplinary skills” which Walsh correlates with the results that came out.

Senior officer of the Science National Honors Society, Novia Li  took both courses of the AP Capstone Program. Li took AP Seminar her sophomore Year and AP Research her junior year. From her experience Li expressed that “the topics [for Seminar] were much more broad and... [the work] was done within groups. For AP Research, it was more independent and “[she] spent the whole year on one topic of [her] choice, which [she found] as great.”

The AP Capstone logo. Logo from College Board.

Li went on to say that class taught her a lot she felt she will use in college. “[She] was never a fan of public speaking but, [she realized she] would be doing a lot of that in college and in her career choice.” For Li, Seminar and Research were very good preparations for that.

Clapp and Walsh continue to hope to have the students keep up with their qualifying scores for both the Capstone classes. To them, these results have truly shown the dedication of the  students have to do well. Both teachers hope more students will take the class because they feel as though the numbers within the classes are small, and there are many students within the school who have never heard of the course.

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