Students flourish in AP Capstone Diploma Program

Turiya Moka ‘21 had never taken an advanced-placement class and wondered whether jumping into AP Seminar was such a good idea.

“I was shy and terrified,” Moka said of that course, which she started in the fall semester of her sophomore year.

Soon, her fear turned to confidence as she realized this was one of the most helpful and important classes of her life. The class, which emphasizes critical thinking and teamwork, is known as the “Think Tank.”

“This is a class that teaches how collaboration is not only essential during high school and college, but how collaboration is necessary for entering the workforce and living a happy life,” Moka said.

Classmate Ansley Fine ‘21 agreed, saying AP Seminar has made her a better student: “So far, Seminar has helped me in some form or another in almost every single one of my classes.”

AP Seminar is one of two required classes in the AP Capstone Diploma Program, launched internationally by the College Board in 2014 and adopted by Farragut in 2017. The second course in the program is AP Research, in which students learn how to conduct independent research in order to produce and defend a scholarly academic paper.

Teacher Cathy Windish taught AP Seminar in London, England, before joining Farragut in 2017.

“One of the most gratifying aspects of teaching this course stems from hearing students think, and witnessing them reach beyond their comfort zone,” she said. 

So far, 19 students have completed AP Seminar and 18 more are enrolled this year. The five students who started in the AP Capstone program in 2017-18 are enrolled in AP Research and more will follow suit their senior year.

The early results are impressive. So far, all AP Seminar students have passed with a score of 3 or more on a 5-point scale. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research, plus four additional AP exams of their choosing, will receive the AP Capstone Diploma. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research, but not on four additional AP exams, will receive an AP Capstone Certificate.

 “AP Capstone is great preparation for college coursework,” said Jeri Williar, Director of Counseling, adding that it  “looks very good on a student’s resume.”