AP Capstone at QSI International School of Sarajevo
Over the past three years the Advanced Placement program has grown significantly at QSI International School of Sarajevo. During the 2017/2018 academic year 11 Advanced Placement classes were offered and this year we are offering 12. We are also proud to report that over the past three years 88% of our students have received a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams.
To build-on and support our program, QSI International School of Sarajevo is proud to have been accepted into the AP Capstone program. As one of only 15 AP Capstone schools in Europe we have set high goals for our students and staff. Made up of two additional classes, AP Seminar and AP Research, the AP Capstone program does not teach subject specific knowledge, instead it focuses on an interdisciplinary approach in order to develop critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management as well as presentation skills that students need for college-level work.
Through the AP Capstone diploma students will be eligible to receive additional diplomas upon successfully completing the courses.
We believe that AP Capstone is an innovative program that will help our students stand out in the college admissions process by developing the critical skills needed to succeed in college and in their future career.
The AP Capstone program is a two year program with AP Seminar being taught in Secondary II or Secondary III and the AP Research being taught in Secondary III or IV. This year QSI Sarajevo has begun the implementation of AP Capstone and we are teaching the AP Seminar class for the first time.
Students in AP Seminar are learning to “Join the Conversation” in their research and writing. Instead of just jumping right into a research question or topic, students learn the steps and skills to approach information in relation to joining a conversation at a party. Imagine that you walk into a school dance late and people in the room are already talking in groups. Most people do not join right in to the middle of a conversation. Most students would listen for a few minutes, think about what was being said, perhaps learning something new, and eventually adding their voice to the conversation.
By thinking of writing as a conversation, students realize that their work should reflect more than just stating what they know. They begin to see writing as a process of joining, reflecting on, and contributing to a conversation about a topic or an issue. Thinking of writing as a form of conversation allows students to build on skills they already possess.
As students build upon the QUEST Capstone framework of Questioning and exploring, Understanding and analyzing, Evaluating multiple perspectives, Synthesizing ideas, and forming Teams to transform and transmit what they have researched – they form the toolbox of skills that colleges and universities have seen lacking from many students. This Capstone program is a direct result of universities approaching College Board to create such a course, where students are challenged to form a critical methodology to research, identifying bias, evaluating from multiple perspectives/lenses, and finding a place for their ideas to fit into a conversation to create an evidence-based argument.
Students must conduct research as a team and as an individual, as well as give a timed, formal presentation of their work. This Seminar class is unlike most other AP courses in that 55% of their final score is assessed by the teacher in class as teams and individually before they take the End of Course exam in May which covers the remaining 45%, scored by College Board. The teacher will go through a calibration training from College Board before stimulus material is released to students in January, so all teachers are scoring work and presentations accurately.
During the 2019/2020 academic year, QSI International School of Sarajevo will implement part two of the AP Capstone program, AP Research. Similar to QSI’s Research course, in AP Research students will design, plan, and conduct a year-long mentored, research-based investigation and present and defend their findings and methodology during an oral defense.
Kyle Mims and Hatidza Sadinlija-Jakupovic
QSI International School of Sarajevo