by Abby Miller 42Fifty Staff Writer
AP Research students at Oswego High School have been working all year on their AP projects. On Monday, April 9, the 11 OHS students completed the presentation component of the AP Research exam.
As College Board states, “the course culminates in an academic paper of 4,000-5,000 words and a presentation, with an oral defense; during which you will answer 3-4 questions from a panel of evaluators.”
AP Research teacher, Ms. Lavelle, describes the process students go through to make their final products.
“The first half of the class is spent just doing a literature review,” Lavelle says.
Students then took steps such as creating an annotated bibliography, collecting their data and identifying the gap in their research. Eventually, the students got started on their presentations.
“We slowly but surely got to our presentations, which was the creation of a powerpoint and a fifteen to twenty minute speech covering everything we knew about our topic, the answer to our question, our literary review, how we identified the gap in knowledge and how we filled ,” Senior and AP Research student Tess O’Connell explains.
The presentation was unique for each student, as they each got to choose their own topic.
“My question was ‘To what extent will the economic trends of western films predict the future trends of the American superhero film genre?’” O’Connell shares.
Leading up to the presentation, students combined their skills acquired in AP Seminar, the prerequisite course, and AP Research.
“In AP Research, we focus more on the content than the actual presentation itself,” Lavelle says. “I think were just so prepared from [AP Seminar] the year before”.
Students also aided each other, as O’Connell points out. Students had a number of practice days in class and peer reviewed their presentations.
After finishing the presentation, the students shared and filmed them on April 9 in the community room. The overall perception of the presentations seemed to be positive.
“Anyone who was in there would say that . . . the presentation skills themselves were so strong. It was really impressive. I think they were just so prepared from the year before,” Lavelle says.
Students seemed to agree with their teacher.
“I think that in comparison to AP Seminar last year, everyone has improved greatly,” O’Connell comments. “I was very impressed with everything. Everyone ended up with something really solid.”
Even then, no presentation is perfect.
“I think my presentation could have been a lot better,” O’Connell admits. “I was rushed. I had a little too much in my presentation . . . and that was rough.”
With a heavy workload comes an equal amount of payoff. Students next year should be prepared for a rigorous course.
“Keep on top of it,” O’Connell recommends. “And pick something you like, because you spend a whole year on this question, you don’t want to end up hating it by the end.”
AP Research is recommended because of how many choice it give students. Although work heavy, it should have more appeal to the students as they become invested in their personal topics.
“Expect to study something you truly have an interest in,” Lavelle adds.
The AP Research students overall seem to have gotten out of the course what they put in.
“I think [AP Research] has given me a solid ground to stand on when looking at how you go about researching things, how you come up with your own ideas and how to put your mind to something and work on it for a full year,” O’Connell says.
Next year, ten students are expected to be in AP Research, according to Lavelle. Their presentations will also take place in the spring.