Bellevue High School is one of more than 300 schools worldwide to implement AP Capstone—an innovative diploma program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for their future college and career success: research, collaboration, and communication. The AP Capstone program represents a significant shift from content to skills. The program includes a two-course sequence: AP Capstone 1 (AP Seminar) and AP Capstone 2 (AP Research).

Students who complete both courses with scores of 3 or higher and receive scores of 3 or higher on four additional AP exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the two AP Capstone exams but do not take the requisite additional AP courses will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

The first course in the sequence is the AP Seminar course. This course is typically taken by students in the 10th or 11th grade. This course equips students with the power to explore academic and real-world issues from multiple perspectives. Teachers have the flexibility of choosing themes for the class based on student interests. Some examples of themes could be issues involving education, innovation, sustainability, and technology. By tapping into students’ personal interests, AP Capstone gives a broader array of students an entry point into challenging course work. Students are assessed through an individual project and a team project completed during the year in addition to a year-end written exam.

The second course in the sequence is the AP Research course. This course is typically taken in the final year of high school and AP Seminar is a pre-requisite. AP Research allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem or issue of individual interest. Through this exploration, students design, plan, and conduct a year-long research based investigation to address a research question.

A summary video may be found here.

What BHS students are saying about the AP Capstone Program

“I think that this whole class as a whole has helped me grow as a presenter, a writer, a researcher, and a debater. I honestly love this class, It has been my favorite class this entire semester. This is probably because my passion lies in argumentative writing and debating, and it is what I want to pursue. I came into this class already fairly confident with my writing skills, but I my researching skills have expanded immensely during this semester. Now I feel very confident when it comes to finding credible and reliable sources for my topics, thanks to the databases we were introduced to. I’ve also improved at collaborating with others to achieve one specific goal. I used to hate working with groups because I felt as though I had to do everything for everyone, and I had to perfect everyone else’s work. Although I still feel this way, I have been able to put more trust in people I work with lately. Additionally, I know that my argumentative writing itself has improved because I’m able to construct a clear line of reasoning now, and I feel like I’m much better at creating a thesis. I think this Performance Task 1 project, and the one we did right before that are the times that I have experienced that most personal growth in this class.”  

“I think I experienced both personal growth and improvement in skill in collaboration. At the beginning of the year I was not excited about the idea of working in groups and didn’t want to do anything if it wasn’t my way. Throughout our practice essays I sort of realized what I already sort of knew but mostly ignored and that is that my way isn’t always the best way. And that’s ok! I used to kind of beat myself up over not coming up with a good idea or seeing something from a certain perspective before someone else did but I didn’t notice it wasn’t meant to be treated like a competition and we’re in groups to help each other and make our work better overall. Trusting other group members in doing their part of the assignment was really scary for me at first because I worried they wouldn’t do their share or would do an inadequate job. In our most recent assignment, Performance Task 1, I really tried to not be overly controlling and this project has been some of my best work in this class.”

An Introduction to the AP Capstone™ Program at BHS
AP Capstone Student Brochure