AP Seminar Takes Its Course
By RACHEL SCHREIBSTEIN
The College Board’s relatively new AP Seminar course will be offered to tenth grade students for the first time at Jericho High School during the 2017-2018 school year.
AP Seminar was introduced by the College Board in 2014 and is part of the AP Capstone program. Through this program, students can earn an AP Capstone Diploma if they score a 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exams, as well as four other AP course exams. This course is advantageous because it can prepare a student for 98 career ideas and can also prepare students for 46 different college majors, according to the College Board.
The main goal of AP Seminar is to synthesize information from a variety of sources and use this acquired information to write papers with a specific point of view. Many students are interested in the course due to the valuable skills that can be learned. Freshman Sophie F. has signed up to take AP Seminar. She said, “I hope to improve my essay writing skills next year.” Similarly, freshman Olivia L. chose to take AP Seminar next year and said, “I didn’t want to take AP Euro because it sounds really challenging, but I still wanted to take an AP course sophomore year.” In addition, freshman Jamie S. said, “I want to take AP Seminar next year because I enjoy English, and I want to challenge myself by taking an AP in a subject that I actually like.”
English Language Arts Curriculum Associate Dr. Salzman explained some benefits of the class. “It offers skills in inquiry, as well as reading a wide range of sources and trying to form arguments,” he said. Also, Guidance Counselor Ms. Lisa-Brown said, “If the student goes into it with the idea of they want to learn how to write about a topic that’s important to them and learn the right way to source it and present it, I think it’s great.”
However, some students are choosing not to take AP Seminar. One important aspect of the class is the emphasis placed on group work. This, along with the fact that students will receive a group grade along with an individual grade, is a major reason why some students have doubts about taking the course. It is still unknown whether students or teachers are going to form the groups, but many students are apprehensive about working with others as much as would be required in the course. Freshman Olivia C. said, “I would want to make my own groups because sometimes when the teacher makes them you could be stuck with people you really don’t want to work with, and that could make it difficult.” Likewise, Sophie F. said, “I would definitely want to make my own because if the teacher makes them then we might be paired with someone we don’t work well with.” Similarly, freshman Rebecca L. decided not to take AP Seminar for her sophomore year. She said, “I’m just not a great English student, so I knew that I would do better in AP Euro than AP Seminar.”
In addition, students, teachers, and parents are worried about AP Seminar being offered for the first time next year. Junior Daryn N. has mixed feelings about whether or not she would’ve taken the course if it were offered to her during her sophomore year. She said, “I’d be a little nervous being the first one to take a new class, being that I wouldn’t know how it would turn out. It sounds like a good course, but I’m not sure I would have signed up for it in tenth grade if it were the first year it was offered.” On the other hand, sophomore Marni Z. would’ve liked to have taken AP Seminar. She said, “English is a subject that I’m usually good at, so taking an AP English class would have helped me with my amount of APs and keep up my GPA.”
When considering whether to bring the course to Jericho, Dr. Salzman said, “We wondered whether or not it was a good fit, and we decided it was.”
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