AP Capstone™ program

Norfolk Collegiate was the first school in Hampton Roads to offer AP Capstone™, a rigorous, research-based program that builds on the extensive catalog of discipline-specific AP courses. 

AP Capstone™ is an innovative program from the College Board that capitalizes on the strengths of Norfolk Collegiate's current AP offerings to engage students in inquiry-based independent research, collaboration, and oral and written communication skills as they investigate contemporary issues and problems from multiple perspectives. Based on two foundational courses—AP Seminar and AP Research—the AP Capstone™ program offers highly qualified students the opportunity to earn either the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™ or the AP Capstone Diploma™.



Below are examples of how AP Capstone™ complements Norfolk Collegiate's academic priorities and initiatives.

  • Inquiry-based Framework: AP Capstone's™ foundational courses are built on the "QUEST" framework. Through this, students question and explore; understand and analyze; evaluate; synthesize; and team, transform and transmit arguments drawn from contemporary issues and problems. This pedagogical framework is an inquiry-based approach to research and argumentation that reflects Norfolk Collegiate's focus on developing critical thinkers, readers, researchers and writers.

  • Technology Integration: The program's focus on 21st century research, writing and presentation skills is a natural fit with Norfolk Collegiate's commitment to technology integration across our curriculum. Students employ the "QUEST" method of inquiry using state-of-the-art databases and technology-rich research and presentation tools available through the Stanton Library, the 1:1 iPad® program and the Beazley Communication Arts Suite.

  • Access and Success: Over the last five years, Norfolk Collegiate has offered AP courses in 21 disciplines. More than 70 percent of Upper School students have taken one or more of these courses. The AP Capstone™ program builds on this tradition of access and success in rigorous, college-level courses.


  • AP Seminar: AP Seminar, the first course in the AP Capstone™ sequence, is taken during the junior year in conjunction with AP English Language and Composition. In this course, students develop their research, problem-solving and argumentation skills through the study of classical and contemporary rhetoric. The course culminates in a team project and presentation, an extensive research-based essay and oral presentation and the end-of-course AP Seminar exam.

  • AP Research: Students who have successfully completed AP Seminar will have the opportunity to continue the program through the AP Research course, which extends the inquiry-based skills developed in AP Seminar. In this course, students embark on a rigorous program of individual research culminating in an academic thesis, a presentation of the research, and an oral defense of the thesis. Successful completion of AP Research may also fulfill Norfolk Collegiate's Senior Project graduation requirement.


AP Capstone Diploma™: Students who receive scores of three or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as on four additional AP course examinations, will receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.   

AP Seminar and Research Certificate™: Students who successfully complete AP Seminar and AP Research but who do not receive scores of three or higher on at least four other AP exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.

For additional information about the AP Capstone, contact Judy Davis, director of curriculum and instruction, or Val Ortiz, assistant director of college counseling and academic advising.
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