AP Seminar is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational, literary, and philosophical texts; listening to and viewing speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts; and experiencing artistic works and performances. Students learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in research-based written essays, and design and deliver oral and visual presentations, both individually and as part of a team. Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.

Materials and Resources:

  • Binder / dividers / paper
  • Composition journal
  • Highlighters, pens, pencils
  • Laptop (preferred)
  • Turnitin.com account

Course Goals:

  • Engage students with rigorous college-level curricula focused on the core academic skills necessary for successful college completion.
  • Extend students’ abilities to synthesize information from multiple perspectives and apply skills in cross-curricular contexts and in new situations.
  • Empower students to collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision.
  • Cultivate students’ abilities to craft, communicate, and defend evidence-based arguments.
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice disciplined and scholarly research skills applied to relevant topics of their interest and curiosity.

Course Format:

This course will be taught as a seminar, which means that each student will play a vital role in the learning process. There is a tremendous amount of discussion in class that will be vital to everyone's success. This course will require an intense amount of reading and individual responsibility. Students are responsible for completing outside readings so that the interpretation of the literature can be discussed for deeper analysis and understanding in class. Your success in this class is contingent on completing all assigned readings.

As the AP Program engages students in college-level work, the AP Seminar course may include perspectives that could be considered controversial, including references to ethnicity, nationality, religion, politics, race, dialect, sexuality, gender, or class. AP Seminar requires students to have the level of maturity and skill to thoughtfully consider and analyze diverse perspectives. The inclusion of topics, readings. texts, and other source material is not intended as an endorsement by the College Board or Lake Highlands HS of the content, ideas, or values expressed in the material.

Writing will also be a key component to the class. Thematic writing is intended to promote deeper understanding of the content, as well as a way to develop stronger writing skills. We will work together throughout the year in order to develop the skills that are necessary to succeed on the AP examination in May. Specific emphasis will be placed on decoding the writing prompt and the steps necessary for developing a clear and concise argument.


This course is designed to have students 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 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.

AP Seminar Assessment Overview

Team Project and Presentation - 20% of AP Seminar score

Individual Research-based Essay and Presentation - 35% of AP Seminar score

AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam - 45% of AP Seminar Score

Grading Policy:

I use a point system for grading. This may be very different for you so please be sure to note the maximum points available for an assignment when viewing your grades. For instance, many daily assignments are out of 25 points. This means that if your grade is a 25 you have done well – not poorly.

Per district policy, I will provide a three-week grade check through the progress report, which must be signed by a parent or guardian.

Please come see me if you discover a discrepancy in your grades. We will work together to straighten it out — but beware, you will need tangible evidence that the grade has been incorrectly noted.

Cooperative groups, discussions, debates, and projects involve daily participation. Absences will affect grade. Please be here and be on time.

Grading Percentages:

Participation (20%): Evaluation will be based on how a student’s participation (comments, ideas, and questions) helped to enhance and/or to advance the class’ overall collective understanding through critical discussion and listening.

Minor Grades (20%): Grades will be based on the points earned on in-class writings, homework, assignments, and reflections.

Skill-based Assessments (60%): This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Inquiry-based assessments
  • In-class timed writings: analysis, argument, synthesis
  • Reflections
  • Team projects: team building, cooperative learning, group presentations
  • Writing activities and assignments
  • AP preparation: skill-based activities, practice essays
  • Online portfolios

Participation in Class Discussion:

This course requires students’ active participation in all activities and discussions. Lessons have been designed to create an open forum for the exchange of thoughts and opinions. Students are expected to be on task at all times, and respect the thoughts and opinions of classmates. Evaluation will be based on how student participation (comments, ideas, and questions) helped to enhance and/or advance our overall collective understanding through critical discussion and listening.

The following criteria will be used to assign the participation component of the student’s overall grade:

A: Highly Effective Participant: near perfect attendance; insightful questions and comments; clearly completes the reading and goes beyond by introducing other relevant material.

B: Consistent Participant: good attendance; thoughtful questions and comments; clearly completes the reading.

C: Occasional Participant: regular attendance; sporadic involvement in discussions that is often based on personal opinion, rather than analysis of class material.

D: Observer: regular attendance, but does not get involved in class discussions.

F: Occasional Observer: sporadic attendance; no participation in class.

Late Work Policy:

Students who submit work past the due date, will receive a penalty of 10% off per school day applied to the grade that was earned. Students who submit assignments more than five days late may receive a maximum grade of 50%. Please note that this policy also applies to scheduled absences, and the original due date holds (examples include field trips, performances, athletic events, etc.).

  • In the case of excused absences, teachers will accept late work without penalty (please refer to the school’s absence policy for further details).
  • At the close of every third week, any and all missing work from the previous three weeks will receive a grade of 0%, and will no longer be accepted.

After five days, in addition to receiving a maximum grade of 50%, 30 minutes of working detention will be required. This can be served during tutoring hours or scheduled with Ms. Grau. The grade for the late assignment will not be entered until you have served your working detention.

Major assignments — those assignments that are longer or more time-consuming — are due at the beginning of your class period unless otherwise specified. If the assignment comes to me later in the day, it will be late and will receive the late work deduction.

When you are absent from class, you miss work. Be mindful and make plans to make up the work. If you know you will be absent for a school-related activity, please get with me ahead of time. If an assignment is scheduled to be turned in on that day, the due date still applies.

Plagiarism and Falsification or Fabrication of Information

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 a bibliographic entry, 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 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 Presentation.

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.