AP Capstone Policies

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Certain policies are critical to the successful implementation of AP Capstone™ at your school. Adherence to program policies and exam procedures, including performance tasks, is critical to producing valid AP scores. Violations of program policies and/or exam procedures may result in the cancellation of student scores and/or your school being withdrawn from the AP Capstone program by the College Board. The policies and language below are in effect for the 2017-18 school year.

Participation

Schools must submit an application and be approved to join the AP Capstone program. Only students whose schools offer the AP Capstone program can enroll in AP Seminar or AP Research and submit performance tasks and/or take the AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam. Home-schooled students, home-school organizations, and online providers are not eligible to participate in AP Capstone.

Prerequisite

Students must first complete AP Seminar, including the end-of-course exam and all required performance tasks, to develop the skills necessary to succeed in AP Research. Students who score a 1 or 2 in AP Seminar are still eligible to enroll in AP Research but might need additional support and guidance during the course.

Plagiarism and Falsification or Fabrication of Information

Participating teachers shall inform students of the consequences of plagiarism and instruct students to ethically use and acknowledge the ideas and work of others throughout their course work. The student's individual voice should be clearly evident, and the ideas of others must be acknowledged, attributed, and/or cited.

A student who fails to acknowledge the source or author of any and all information or evidence taken from the work of someone else through citation, attribution, or reference in the body of the work, or through a bibliographic entry, will receive a score of 0 on that particular component of the AP Seminar and/or AP Research Performance Task. In AP Seminar, a team of students that fails to properly acknowledge sources or authors on the Team Multimedia Presentation will receive a group score of 0 for that component of the Team Project and Presentation.

A student who incorporates falsified or fabricated information (e.g. evidence, data, sources, and/or authors) will receive a score of 0 on that particular component of the AP Seminar and/or AP Research Performance Task. In AP Seminar, a team of students that incorporates falsified or fabricated information in the Team Multimedia Presentation will receive a group score of 0 for that component of the Team Project and Presentation.

Exam Ordering

AP coordinators must order preadministration materials and AP Seminar and AP Research Exams on the AP Exam Ordering website for each student enrolled in AP Seminar or AP Research by the preadministration ordering deadline indicated in the AP Coordinator's Manual.

All schools offering AP Capstone must order preadministration materials. This ensures that students can enter the AP number located in their Student Packs (received in the preadministration materials shipment) into the AP Digital Portfolio before the submission deadline for their performance tasks. AP Research doesn’t have an end-of-course exam, but an exam must be ordered for each student enrolled in the course in order for their performance task to be scored by the College Board.

Student performance tasks and teacher scores for the associated presentations cannot be submitted to the College Board until a valid AP number has been entered for them.

Note: The College Board recommends that schools outside the U.S., U.S. territories, and Canada place their exam orders online by the priority deadline.

Billing

Once a student submits any performance task component as final in the AP Digital Portfolio or starts the end-of-course exam, the full exam fee of $142 will be charged. 

The $15 unused exam fee will be charged if an exam has been ordered for a student who:

  • Does not submit any performance tasks as final; and
  • Does not start the end-of-course exam.

Students who don’t plan to submit performance tasks or take the end-of-course exam— and, as a result, won’t get a course score—should be dropped from the AP Digital Portfolio.

Rescoring

AP Seminar and AP Research performance tasks, as well as the AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam, consist of free-response questions, academic papers, or presentations, and therefore aren’t rescored.

Students can get their AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam Free-Response booklets for a fee. No comments, corrections, or scores are included. Booklets for exams for which sources aren’t released on the College Board website (for example, late-testing exams) aren’t available.

Score Withholding and Cancellation

If a student chooses to withhold or cancel their score for AP Seminar or AP Research, the entire AP Seminar or AP Research score, including the end-of course exam and performance tasks, is withheld or canceled. If a student submits any of the performance tasks in AP Seminar or AP Research as final or takes the AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam, that student receives a final AP score unless they cancel it.

Retention of Performance Task Presentation Videos

AP Seminar and AP Research teachers must keep video files of all performance task presentations and oral defenses for at least one academic year because the College Board may request to review the scoring of these components to identify samples for scoring training and to ensure scoring quality. The College Board directly contacts randomly selected teachers to submit video files with instructions for providing samples and signed release forms for their students.

Role of Teacher and Expert Adviser

Please see the AP Seminar and AP Research Course and Exam Descriptions (pages 38–42 and 50–52, respectively) to learn about the role of teachers and expert advisers.

AP Capstone Teacher Conflict of Interest Policy

AP Capstone courses and assessments involve the scoring of student through-course performance tasks by the classroom teacher; therefore, it’s important to explain how the existing AP Conflict of Interest Policy found in the AP Program Guide and AP Coordinator’s Manual applies. To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, the College Board recommends that no AP Seminar and AP Research teachers should be the classroom teacher for any student who is an immediate family or household member and is enrolled in AP Seminar or AP Research because this would put the teacher in the position of scoring official AP assessments. To avoid a perceived conflict of interest, the College Board recommends that the immediate family or household member who is enrolled in AP Seminar or AP Research (student) should be transferred to another class section that is taught by another teacher who doesn’t pose a conflict of interest. Alternatively, if there is only one AP Seminar or one AP Research teacher and a schedule change won’t resolve the conflict, the school should designate a different teacher and ensure that the individual is properly trained in curriculum and assessment scoring—at the school’s expense—for the year(s) in which the student is enrolled in AP Seminar and/or AP Research.

The College Board renders the aforementioned recommendations in an effort to ensure that all AP Capstone Exams and courses are administered under standardized conditions and to prevent any student from receiving an unfair advantage on the AP Capstone course and exam. Such recommendations should be enforced by participating schools, their personnel, and their students to the extent feasible and in accordance with each school’s current policies and procedures applicable to such situations.

Professional Development

Professional development is required for all new AP Seminar and AP Research teachers. Teachers won’t be able to submit a syllabus for AP Course Audit authorization or access the AP Digital Portfolio without attending in-person training.  Training is optional for returning teachers or interested administrators at schools accepted into the AP Capstone program. Teachers complete training once before the first year they teach the course—this isn’t an annual requirement.

A limited number of scholarships for teachers from eligible schools may be available through an application process.

Professional development is offered by select AP Summer Institutes (APSIs) throughout the summer. Each session takes place over a consecutive four-and-a-half-day period for 30 contact hours. Schools and teachers may attend the APSI of their choice, space permitting, but teachers must be present for each day of the session. Teachers who aren’t present for any part of the training will not be authorized to teach AP Seminar or AP Research.

In addition, AP Seminar and AP Research teachers need to complete and pass online scoring training to gain access to score their students' work. This training is virtual and self-paced. The training modules will be available at a time to be announced during the academic year.

For more information on AP Capstone professional development, visit the web page.

Replacing AP Capstone Teachers Mid-Year

AP Seminar and AP Research teachers must complete AP Capstone Professional Development before teaching either course. 

In rare cases—such as resignation, termination, personal leave, extended illness, or death—AP Capstone teachers must be replaced during the school year. In these cases, a school may assign a teacher who hasn’t completed required training to an AP Seminar or AP Research classroom.

Depending on timing, the replacement teacher may need to complete and pass required AP Capstone online scoring training and fulfill scoring responsibilities set forth in this Implementation Guide. The school leader and the replacement teacher should work together to see these requirements are met.

Any replacement teacher wishing to teach AP Seminar or AP Research in a future academic year must complete AP Capstone Professional Development before teaching the course again.

Student Extended Absence and Performance Tasks

General Recommendations:

In the event that a student experiences an unavoidable and extended absence from school and isn’t able to participate in the AP Capstone Performance Tasks (AP Seminar: Team Project and Presentation; Individual Research-Based Essay and Presentation; AP Research: Academic Paper; Presentation and Oral Defense) or any individual components of these tasks, the school/teacher should be as accommodating as possible, using technology or other means that allow the student to participate in the entire task or one or more of its components. If the student is unable to participate, for example, in the entire Team Project and Presentation or is unable to complete one or more components of either of the two performance tasks, the College Board recommends one of the following options:

  1. Continue in the course and have their completed tasks (or components) scored taking whatever AP score is earned. For example, if an AP Seminar student is unable to participate in the Team Project and Presentation, the student could choose to complete the Individual Research-Based Essay and Presentation and the End-of-Course Exam and accept the AP score earned from these two completed assessments. (In this scenario, the teacher would remove the student from the team, and the student would receive a score of 0 for any assessment components not completed.); or
  2. Continue in the course and then cancel their scores by completing the AP Score Cancellation Form by the published deadline (usually by mid-June). For example, if a student is unable to participate in the AP Seminar Team Project and Presentation, they may complete the other performance task and, if the student does not think their performance on the Individual Research-Based Essay and Presentation and End-of- Course Exam will earn a score the student wants to keep on record, they may cancel the score; or
  3. The student may elect to drop the course altogether and consider re-enrolling the following academic year. An AP Research student who doesn’t submit an Academic Paper is ineligible to receive a score on the Presentation and Oral Defense and may elect to drop the course and re-enroll the following academic year.

The College Board renders the aforementioned recommendations in an effort to ensure that all AP Capstone Exams and courses are administered under standardized conditions and to prevent any student from receiving an unfair advantage on the AP Capstone course and exam. Such recommendations should be enforced by participating schools, their personnel, and their students to the extent feasible and in accordance with each school’s current policies and procedures applicable to such situations.

Considerations for AP Seminar:

  1. If the student is unable to complete the Individual Research Report component of the AP Seminar Team Project and Presentation, the student would be ineligible to receive a score for the Team Multimedia Presentation because the presentation is dependent on all team members’ individual research. As a result, the student would receive no score for the entire Team Project and Presentation.
  2. A student with extended absences may be removed from an AP Seminar team without consequence for the other students on the team, provided that all task instructions are followed to ensure completion of the Team Multimedia Presentation. However, teachers should attempt to accommodate students with extended absences as much as possible, using technology or other means to encourage participation, before considering dropping a student from a team.
  3. Students who don’t complete the Individual Written Argument aren’t eligible to receive scores in the Individual Multimedia Presentation or the Individual Oral Defense. 
  4. Students who submit any performance tasks as final but don’t take the AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam will still receive an AP Seminar score unless they cancel their score by the published deadline (usually by mid-June). The student will receive a score of 0 for the end-of-course exam, which makes up 45% of the final AP Seminar score.
  5. It’s acceptable for an AP Seminar student who hasn’t completed one or more AP Seminar Performance Tasks to take the End-of-Course Exam.
  6. Students must first complete AP Seminar, including the end-of-course exam and all required performance tasks, to develop the skills necessary to succeed in AP Research. Students who score a 1 or 2 in AP Seminar are still eligible to enroll in AP Research but might need additional support and guidance during the course.

Considerations for AP Research:

If an AP Research student is unable to complete the Academic Paper, the student would be ineligible to receive a score for the Presentation and Oral Defense because the presentation and oral defense component is dependent on the research in the Academic Paper.

Assigning AP Capstone Course Grades on Student Transcripts:

Assigning course grades for AP Seminar and AP Research on student high school transcripts is a local decision and is only dependent on an AP Capstone teacher having received course authorization through the AP Course Audit. Receiving a course grade for AP Seminar or AP Research isn’t affected by a student’s completion of the through-course assessments or the AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam, unless there is a school or district policy that dictates otherwise. Teachers should follow local policies when assigning course grades for students with extended absences from AP Capstone courses.

Note: An exam must be ordered for each student enrolled in an AP Capstone course in order for their work to be scored by the College Board. Once a student submits a performance task component as final in the AP Digital Portfolio or begins the end-of-course exam, the exam fee is not refundable.

Student Transfer Policy

The following protocols should be followed for students who transfer from one school to another.

From an AP Capstone school to another AP Capstone school:

A student who is enrolled in an AP Capstone course and who transfers to another AP Capstone school may continue to participate in the AP Capstone course at their new school, provided the new school is offering the course. If a student transfers during the academic year, the new school should make every effort to capture the work previously completed by the student before the transfer.

From an AP Capstone school to a non-AP Capstone school:

A student who is enrolled in an AP Capstone course and who transfers to a school that doesn’t offer the program may not continue to participate in the AP Capstone course. At this time, schools that aren’t authorized to offer AP Capstone courses cannot accommodate students who may have been enrolled in an AP Capstone course prior to their transfers.

From a non-AP Capstone school to an AP Capstone school:

A student who isn’t enrolled in an AP Capstone course and who transfers to an AP Capstone school may begin to participate in an AP Capstone course, at the discretion of the new school. The time in the school year when the transfer occurs may play a role in determining whether the student is eligible to participate in an AP Capstone course, given the nature of the through-course assessments.

Retaking AP Seminar and/or AP Research

AP Seminar:

Students may retake AP Seminar; however they may not resubmit the work they produced in previous AP Seminar courses as part of their through-course assessment(s).

Students who retake AP Seminar must again complete all Performance Tasks and the End-of-Course exam, as individual component, task, or exam scores from previous years can’t be applied.

AP Research:

Students may retake AP Research; however, they may not resubmit the work they produced in previous AP Research courses as part of their through course-assessment(s). Students who retake AP Research must again complete the Academic Paper and Presentation and Oral Defense, on a new research topic, as individual component scores from previous years can’t be applied.