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AP Seminar Syllabus 2016-2017

Mr. Jason Behler

Course Overview: The AP Capstone Seminar course is an inquiry-based course

that aims to engage students in cross-curricular conversations that explore realworld topics and issues from multiple perspectives. Students are empowered to
collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and
communicate evidence-based arguments.

To engage students with rigorous college-level curricula focused on the core
academic skills necessary for successful college completion.
To extend students abilities to synthesize information from multiple
perspectives and apply skills in cross-curricular contexts and in new
To empower students to collect and analyze information with accuracy and
To cultivate students abilities to craft, communicate, and defend evidencebased arguments.
To provide opportunities for students to practice disciplined and scholarly
research skills applied to relevant topics of their own interest and curiosity.

Student Learning Outcomes: Throughout the course, students consider multiple

points of view to develop their own perspectives on complex issues and topics
through inquiry and investigation. The AP Capstone program provides students a
framework by which they can develop, practice, and hone their critical- and
creative-thinking skills as they make connections between issues and their own
lives. The inquiry process will expose students to a variety of primary and secondary
print and non-print sources, foundational literary and philosophical texts, as well as
artistic works and performances. This wide variety of academic sources will provide
the opportunity for students to gain a rich appreciation and understanding of issues

as they collaboratively and independently analyze and evaluate evidence to

draw informed, well-reasoned conclusions about the world.

Evaluation and Grading: AP Seminar will use a Proficiency-Based

Grading System; that is, the grade for the class will be derived from formative and
summative assessments that are: (1) connected to clearly defined learning
objectives, (2) based on academic achievement (not behavior or compliance with
school/classroom rules), and (3) focused on learning progress. The three areas of
assessment will include:
Participation (part of formative assessment category
in gradebook): Evaluation will be based on how your participation (comments,
ideas, and questions) helps to enhance and/or advance our overall
collective understanding through critical discussion and listening.

Formative Assessments (40 % of final grade for

course): Evaluation will be based on the percentage of total points earned on inclass tasks, homework assignments, written reflections, etc.

Summative Assessments (40% of final grade for

course): Evaluation will be based on practice AP Seminar Performance Tasks
(Team Project and Presentation, Individual Research-Based Argument and
Presentation, and End-of-Course Exam).

Kentucky English 2 End-of-Course Exam (20% of final grade for


AP Capstone Policy on 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 bibliographic entry, will
receive a 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

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.

Instructional Resources:
To meet the course objectives, current media, magazine, journals, newspapers, and
other secondary and primary sources will be incorporated. Additionally, the inquirybased nature of AP Seminar requires activities and assessments that make use of
a variety of resources (library/internet research, audio/video equipment, etc.).
Information used by students to address a problem may come from various print
and non-print secondary sources (e.g., articles, other studies, analyses, reports)
and primary sources (e.g., original texts and works or personally collected data such
as experiments, surveys, questionnaires, and interviews). Students will
be expected to use technology to access and manage information from online
databases (e.g., Kentucky Virtual Library and Google Scholar) that grants access to
secondary and primary sources.

Expectations for Academic Success:

Materials: Students are responsible for keeping course materials (notes,
handouts, graded assignments, texts, etc.) in an organized manner. I
recommend maintaining a 3-ring binder for this purpose. The intense nature of the

course work will require students to stay organized and be able to find
course materials quickly. You will also need a pack of multi-colored highlighters for
Computer and Internet Access: Regular access to a computer, word
processing software, and the internet is required for AP Seminar. If you do not have
computer access at home, consider using the public libraries, school library, and
classroom computers. Since I have a computer lab in my classroom this should not
be an issue for any student, as I will grant access before and after school as needed.

Cooperation and Dealing with Conflict: This course is

designed for students to work in groups/teams frequently. As such, some of the
graded work will require students to function effectively as a member of a team.
Issues or conflicts regarding interpersonal communication and responsibilities to the
group should be brought to the instructor's attention immediately; do not wait for
grades to suffer before informing the instructor of any issues.

Active Participation and Respecting Others: This course requires

students' active participation in all activities and discussions. Focus solely on AP
Seminar while in class. The intense nature of the coursework requires students'
close attention from bell to bell. Lessons have been designed to create an open
forum for the exchange of thoughts and opinions, so students are expected
to respect the thoughts and opinions of classmates.

Being Open-Minded: AP Seminar deals heavily with analyzing differing

perspectives. You should come to each reading willing to listen and think critically
about the authors opinion even if it doesnt align with your own. This will enable
you to adopt a wider view of issues and appreciate their complexity.

Avoiding Absences: Cooperative groups, discussions, debates, and projects

involve daily participation. Absences will negatively affect grades. Please be here
and on time.

Keeping up with Assignments: Since youll be reading and absorbing a lot

of material, its important not to fall behind the rest of the class.Participation relies
on a thoughtful reading of the course material, and its hard to do that if youre
trying to play catch up with assignments that were due earlier.Since youll be doing
research projects both independently and with a team, its important to stay on top
of deadlines to avoid getting overwhelmed or letting down your teammates.

Missing Work: It is the student's responsibility to make arrangements for

any missed work outside of class time. If a student has an excused absence on the
day an assignment is due, he/she will be allowed to turn in the missed
assignments upon returning to class and will be given another day for any work
assigned while absent. If a student has an excused absence on the day of the AP

Seminar End-of-Course Exam, he/she will have one week from the
return date to make it up.

Late Work:

For smaller assignments, I will not accept late work. Students may
complete it, and I will grade it to show students how they performed,
but it will not count for a course grade. Ultimately, the reason why I
cannot accept late work is because much of the work done outside of
class is used within class, thus leaving students unprepared for the
class learning activities and collaboration.
For larger assignments, each day that the assignment is late, it will
lose 10 percent of its overall value. This penalty includes weekends.
Therefore, if a paper is due on Friday, and a student doesn't turn it in
until Monday, the grade on the assignment will lose 30 percent of its
overall value. Students may email assignments to avoid such a
severe penalty.
If a student knows he/she will be absent on a due date, the student
should contact me ahead of time, and we will make arrangements that
are fair and just. If a student has an unexpected absence on the due
date, he/she will be expected to bring the assignment to class the day
he/she returns.

Extra Help: For extra help, students should set a time to meet with the
instructor. I'm happy to help students one-on-one or in small groups; however,
requests for meetings must happen at least 24 hours before the meeting time, or I
might be unable to accommodate. It is always preferable that students come see
me sooner rather than later.

Snow Days: Students are expected to work on the AP Seminar curriculum on

days school is canceled due to snow.

Rules: All school-wide rules and expectations will be enforced in the classroom.

Benefits of Taking AP Seminar: Critical thinking and the ability to logically

evaluate arguments are key skills that will help you in all aspects of your life. AP
Seminar can be a very practical course if you're up for the challenge. You'll have
three major assessments that count toward your AP Seminar Score: a team research
project, an independent research project, and an end-of-course exam. Throughout

the course, you will be asked to read a variety of source materials and participate in
class discussions. You'll learn about proper research methods, argumentative
techniques, and the importance of looking at issues from all sides. Students who
take AP Seminar can then go on to take AP Research, which gives you even more
independence in choosing research topics. AP Seminar is an opportunity for
advanced students to get some experience with the types of assignments and
expectations that are common in college classes.

Course Outline:
Unit 1, 2, and 3: Preparation for the Through-Course Assessments

Unit 1: Consumerism

The main assessments for this unit will be journal entries that mirror
Part A on the AP Seminar Exam and a group debate.

Unit 2: Wealth and Poverty

This unit will use texts and documents dealing with the topic of
consumerism to begin to introduce and build the skills necessary to be
successful in this course, including (but not limited to) questioning
techniques and strategies, research methods, vetting of sources,
analysis and evaluation of a variety of materials from different

This unit will use texts and documents dealing with the topic of wealth
and poverty to continue to build upon the skills of research, analysis,
evaluation, and start to introduce effective communication skills for
presenting information as a group, in front of a group.
The main assessments for this unit will be a mini group project and
individual report, am annotated bibliography, as well as practices of
Exam Parts A & B.

Unit 3: Success

This unit will continue to build upon the skills of research, analysis,
evaluation, and start to introduce effective communication skills for
presenting information on your own in front of a group.
The main assessments for this unit will be an individual argument and
presentation, an annotated bibliography, as well as practices of Exam
Parts A & B.

Unit 5, 6, and 7: Through-Course Assessments

> These are the tasks that will determine the student's AP Seminar

Task 1: Team Project and Presentation - 20% of AP Seminar Score


Students work in teams of three to six to identify, investigate, analyze,

and evaluate an academic or real-world problem, question, or issue.
Each team designs and/or considers options, alternatives, and
approaches and develops a written report and multimedia presentation
to communicate its conclusion, solution, or recommendation.

Task 2: Individual Written Essay and Presentation 35% of AP

Seminar Score

The College Boards AP Program will annually release cross-curricular

source material (texts) representing a range of perspectives
focused around particular themes or topics. Students will use these
texts to identify a research question of their own; conduct research;
analyze, evaluate, and select evidence to develop an argument; and
present and defend their conclusions. Students will have no less
than 30 school days to complete their research, compose their essays,
and develop their presentations. Snow days are included within these
30 days.

Task 3: AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam 45% of AP Seminar Score


During the AP Exam administration window, students will take the AP

Seminar written exam. The exam consists of two items. The first item
requires students to perform a written evaluation of an argumentative
text. The second item requires students to perform a close reading of
multiple texts and then write an evidence-based argument over a
related theme or topic. Students are expected to
draw upon and synthesize evidence from the provided texts as well
as their own prior-knowledge and experiences in supporting their

Important Dates and Basic Timeline for the Class:

You will write these in