High school students are learning how to learn through the AP Capstone program, a unique opportunity launched by the College Board in 2014 to equip students with
” independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges.”
At Sentinel High School, the Advanced Placement Seminar class was summarizing the unique qualities of the Capstone program. For one thing, it develops lifelong learning and organizational skills rather than focusing on the mastery of a subject area.
“I can’t compel you to do these things other than putting them in the gradebook and I don’t like to do that because I want you to be intrinsically motivated to do things well,” teacher Ezra Shearer said.Shearer reminded the students that research confirms that improved memory retention is paired with reinforcement such as note taking or annotation.
“If you don’t do the reading and we continue to work on those skills in class and you don’t know what the rest of the people in your group are talking about, you’re letting yourself down and you’re letting them down.”
In Montana, Sentinel is the first high school to offer the AP Capstone program. The program has two core courses – AP Seminar and AP Research. The first class offers sophomores and juniors opportunities to develop research skills and critical thinking. The second class for juniors or seniors encourages independent research projects that are sometimes presented alongside undergraduate college students.