10/24/13 School system introduces capstone diploma for graduates
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 10/24/13
Reprinted with permission.
GRAHAM — This year’s graduates from Alamance-Burlington Schools can decide if they want to put in some extra work and get a special diploma.
Starting this year, students can get either an advanced-placement local diploma endorsement or a capstone local diploma endorsement.
The first endorsement would require 2014 and 2015 graduates to earn at least four advance-placement credits and take the advanced-placement test for each course.
Starting with the class of 2016, graduates would need five advanced-placement credits.
The capstone endorsement will require a digital portfolio including a research paper, a product and a presentation, according to the ABSS website.
The portfolio would be in digital format and, besides the research paper, would include examples of students’ work such as projects, reports, video or audio of art or music or other efforts such as drafting pieces.
Grading will be on a “pass/ fail” system, with completion of the project noted on students’ transcripts.
The capstone project replaces the graduation project — a state initiative the state never fully implemented.
The Alamance-Burlington School System put the graduation projects in place for high school students based on initial plans for it to be required by the state.
After those plans changed, the local system continued to make the project a requirement.
The school system got complaints from students and parents about the graduation project requirement. Some requirements were also burdensome for the school system.
“We have had a lot of opposition, not to the spirit of the project,” Angela Bost, assistant superintendent at ABSS told the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education at its regular October meeting, “but to what the fruits of our labor, for lack of a better expression, are.”
The system has largely dropped the graduation project requirement, Bost said, though many students still think they will have to do one.
The endorsements, Bost said, should be more meaningful to students than the graduation projects.
Bost said graduates with the endorsements would have a seal on their diplomas and a note in their transcripts to be seen by colleges and even some employers.
In the future, there could be other endorsements on diplomas, Bost said, like one for career and technical education or art.