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Capstone: Class or Project?

Hackett's two-year, senior research project, capstone, has finally come to a close. After spending all this time in English and theology class researching and writing for these projects, it raises the question: should Hackett students switch to AP Capstone?


AP Capstone is a 2-year-long AP course consisting of AP research and AP Seminar. These classes are different from other AP courses as they don't teach subject-specific content but rather help students obtain skills such as research, collaboration, time management, and critical thinking skills. 


These important skills will help to prepare Hackett students for the future whether it is to go into a job or to go to college. Colleges will also recognize these classes, as it is an AP regulated by the College Board rather than put together by the diocese. Students who get a three or higher on the two AP exams for the AP capstone diploma also receive an AP seminar and research certificate. This is another achievement students can show off when applying to college.


The issue with this class is: would it be required for all seniors, or change the way Hackett does capstone? Hackett’s capstone has evolved throughout the years, changing the way it is organized and graded. Students have complained about inconsistencies between teachers and classes causing confusion on rubrics and how to pass capstone, as well as not having enough time in class to complete research. While in the past theology had days dedicated to working on it this was not the case for this year’s seniors. These students said they only had time at home to do their research and writing. “If I had time in class I would definitely have used it”, said Jack Prom, a senior who completed capstone this year. 


Factoring this in, this is a chance to clarify capstone requirements as well as raise our capstone standards to a level respected and valued by colleges. AP Capstone would ultimately be worth it to reduce stress for both teachers and students. 


Taking capstone as an AP, however, will have a set rubric that can not be modified or discarded by teachers for students to be able to pass. This class is on the rise as more than 2,000 schools are approved for the AP Capstone diploma, which gets college recognition that classifies these students as college-ready.


 For Hackett however, while capstone is a requirement to graduate, students are not getting any credit for this major accomplishment. The diocese should consider that AP Capstone would maintain this important graduation requirement, as well as better prepare students for college applications. 

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