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Number of Students Participating in AP Capstone

With more than 40,000 students enrolled, AP Capstone has become the largest alternative assessment in the U.S.

A diploma program comprising two yearlong AP courses (AP Seminar and AP Research), AP Capstone assesses skills like teamwork, collaboration, and independent research that traditional tests do not measure. Instead of focusing on one specific academic discipline, students take an interdisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management, and presentation skills they need for college-level work. In AP Capstone, students are assessed on a series of projects and presentations as well as written essays.

The College Board developed the AP Capstone Diploma™ program at the request of higher education professionals, who saw a need for a systematic way for high school students to demonstrate these skills as part of their college applications.

AP Capstone helps students develop key skills that they will use over and over in college: conducting research and communicating their results.

—Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

AP Capstone has grown dramatically since it launched in the 2015-16 school year. The number of students participating in the AP Capstone program has nearly tripled since 2016 and almost doubled from 2017 to 2018.   

AP Capstone—Exam Volume
Subject 2015 2016 2017 2018

Seminar

5,288

12,308

19,943

30,964

Research

N/A

2,842

5,787

9,640

AP Capstone Total

5,288

15,150

25,730

40,604

Key 2018 AP Capstone Statistics

  • 1,062 schools offered Capstone, an increase of 412 schools (63%) from 2017.
  • 7,168 Capstone Diplomas (4,786) and Certificates (2,382) were awarded.
  • 21.6% of test takers participating in Capstone received a fee reduction, roughly the same percentage as that of AP overall.
  • 30.9% of test takers were underrepresented minorities, an increase of 2.7% from 2017. 
  • 9.4% of test takers identified as African American, an increase of 1.5% from 2017. 
  • 21.3% of test takers identified as Hispanic, an increase of 1.3% from 2017.
  • 61% of test takers identified as female and 39% identified as male, a nearly identical ratio to 2017. 

AP Capstone Student Highlight

Adis Kukuljac, now a graduate of J.W. Mitchell High School in Port Richey, Fla., was invited to present his AP Capstone project at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh in May 2018. In a laboratory at the University of South Florida, he developed the first ever model of KPC-3, a highly resistant bacteria. The model of KPC-3 will be uploaded to a database that researchers around the world use to create new antibiotics. He decided to study the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance because he says there has been a significant increase in the mutation rate of infectious bacteria, especially in hospitals. He was first introduced to the issue in AP Biology during his sophomore year. He is currently attending University of South Florida to finish his research and possibly get a pre-med degree. For now, he is thinking of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, but he hasn’t made up his mind yet. “I like that science can help many other people,” he says about his motivation to go into the medical field.