The Capstone Experience
The Capstone Experience (formerly the Graduation or Senior Project) is a graduation requirement for all students enrolled currently in twelfth grade and all subsequent classes. The Capstone Experience provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate how well they can use what they know and have been taught, as well as showcase new learning acquired through the Capstone Experience. The experience is a performance-based assessment that measures a student's mastery of graduation expectations in the areas of knowledge, communication, problem solving, and responsibility. The project grade is the part of the English curriculum for each student in the Rockingham County School District.
Topics for the Capstone Experience should challenge students in new areas instead of focusing on existing areas of expertise, making it a learning stretch.
The Capstone Experience consists of four components detailed below:1. PaperThis paper requires students to develop and demonstrate proficiency in conducting research and in writing about a chosen, in-depth topic. A Capstone Experience Steering Committee for the district sets parameters to guide the length, format, sources, writing style, and other characteristics related to acceptable topic selection, research practices, and writing styles.2. Product
A product related to or an extension of the student’s research topic is selected, designed, and developed by the student. The product must be supported by evidence, such as a model or demonstration or a service that will benefit the school or community. It may solve a problem or examine an essential question. The product should challenge the student, show applications of learning, and reflect the substantial time spent completing it. The student is expected to spend a minimum of fifteen hours collectively between time working on the product and collaborating with an expert in the field. A school-based committee will approve the initial plans for the product. Each student will document his or her progress in a blog that will be monitored periodically and submitted as part of the portfolio.3. Portfolio
An electronic portfolio containing reflective writings, photographs, logs, and other student documents will demonstrate the student’s process and progress. The portfolio will be monitored by the teacher on a periodic basis.4. Presentation
A professional presentation summarizing the entire process from topic selection to project completion will be delivered to a panel of judges.