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Advanced Placement (AP)

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Stand Out in College Admissions

Deciding to take an AP course lets colleges and universities know that you have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. When admissions officers see “AP” on your transcript, they know that what you experienced in a particular class has prepared you well for the challenges of college. Taking AP is a sign that you’re up for the most rigorous classes your high school has to offer.

Earn College Credits

By taking an AP course and scoring successfully on the related AP Exam, you can save on college expenses: most colleges and universities nationwide offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP Exam scores. These credits can allow students to save college tuition, study abroad, or secure a second major. AP can transform what once seemed unattainable into something within reach.
Check out specific colleges’ guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit and placement by searching our .
Click the link below to find colleges that offer credit or placement for AP score:

Build College Skills

Taking an AP course builds the skills you'll need throughout your college years. You give your mind a rigorous workout while polishing up your time management and study skills. You also get better at handling challenging issues and problems, with the support of your AP teachers. AP courses let you know what to expect during the next phase of your educational journey, and help you build the confidence to succeed.
(This section is quoted from the college board website)

AP Courses offered at PV

AP World History
AP US History
AP Government/AP Macroeconomics
AP English Language
AP English Literature
AP Statistics
AP Calculus
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP French
AP Spanish Language
AP Music Theory
AP Psychology
** For a description of the courses offered click here.
** For more information regarding PVHS prerequisites to take an AP class please view our course catalog.

AP Capstone Diploma Program

During discussions about the future of the PVHS IB Diploma Program, staff expressed the desire to maintain a program of rigorous instruction that could lead to some type of special recognition.  Staff member Beth Burton approached AP Coordinator Deanna Holen about the possibility of implementing the AP Capstone Diploma Program.  This led to further research, which will be available to share with high school teachers during the February 11th DWSD session.  Below are some highlights.
Program Description
It is a flexible, college-level program with two required courses – AP Seminar and AP Research.  These courses complement the skills and knowledge acquired in other AP courses.  Skills to be developed in this two-course sequence include the following:
  • Thinking independently
  • Writing effectively
  • Conducting research
  • Collaborating with others
  • Learning across disciplines
In addition to the courses, students must take the corresponding AP exams in order to earn either a certificate or diploma within the program.  The requirements for both are in the graphic below taken from the AP Capstone Implementation Guide 2019-20.
AP Capstone
Benefits of the Program
In addition to developing the skills mentioned previously, students will be able to demonstrate to colleges that they’ve challenged themselves in a very rigorous program of study.  They will also be able to show their passion and interest in topics through the research they conduct. 
Offering the program allows schools to differentiate themselves from other high schools.  It also provides the means for a student-centered classroom environment.  The program is flexible in that students can choose which other, if any, AP courses they take as part of the program. 
For universities, this program helps identify students with the necessary research, writing, and collaboration skills to be successful and finish a degree.  Many universities also grant credit for passing AP scores in these two courses. 
Year 1 - AP Seminar Course (Gr. 10 or 11 enrollment)
Foundational course that includes the following:
  • Cross-curricular conversations
  • Academic and real-world topics
  • Analyzing and exploring divergent perspectives
  • Based on an inquiry framework
  • Reading, listening, and viewing speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts
  • Experiencing artistic works and performances
  • Synthesizing information from multiple sources
  • Developing and communicating own perspectives
  • Designing and delivering oral and visual presentations as individuals and in a team
Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision so they can craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.”  (page 10 of the implementation guide)
The assessments used to determine a passing exam score include the following:
  • Two course-embedded performance tasks
    • Team project and presentation - individual research report (College Board scored) with a team multimedia presentation and defense (teacher scored, group score)
    • Individual research-based essay and presentation - individual written argument (College Board scored), multimedia presentation (teacher scored), and oral defense (teacher scored)
  • One end-of-course exam (in May) externally scored by College Board
    • Three short answer questions, one essay question
    • Short-answer questions assess analysis of an argument in a single source or document.
    • Essay question assesses students’ skills in synthesizing and creating an evidence-based argument
Year 2 – AP Research (Gr. 11 or 12 enrollment, AP Seminar is a required prerequisite)
This course has students deeply exploring an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest, so the course content is essentially chosen by the student.  Skills to be further developed in the course include the following:
  • Learning research methodology
  • Employing ethical research practices
  • Accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information
Students reflect on their skill development and document their processes through a reflection portfolio.  They will write a 4000 to 5000 word essay and will present it with an oral defense.  The paper includes the following elements:
  • Introduction
  • Method, Process, or Approach
  • Results, Product, or Findings
  • Discussion, Analysis, and/or Evaluation
  • Conclusion and Future Directions
  • Bibliography
Assessment – to be submitted prior to April 30th
  • Academic paper of 4000 to 5000 words (College Board scored)
  • Presentation and oral defense (teacher scored)

AP Capstone Presentation

Intro to AP Seminar

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