To the Editor:
The Commentary “In ‘Assessing’ Writing, Speed Kills,” by Will Fitzhugh (June 20, 2012) contained two significant inaccuracies regarding the College Board’s AP/Cambridge Capstone Program.
Mr. Fitzhugh claimed that students enrolled in the AP/Cambridge Capstone Research Project will only be allowed to base their papers on a limited number of topics. This is incorrect. Students may choose any subjects they wish, in consultation with their teachers.
Second, Mr. Fitzhugh was wrong to suggest these research papers would be scored by computer. Like the current process for scoring free-response sections of Advanced Placement exams, research papers will be evaluated by highly trained educators who are experts in the subject matter of each paper.
The AP/Cambridge Capstone Program was developed based on feedback from higher education institutions and other organizations that indicated high school students needed to enter college with stronger backgrounds in the 21st-century knowledge and skills essential for success in today’s global marketplace—specifically, research, extended-writing, presentation, and collaborative skills.
The AP/Cambridge Capstone Research Project was designed to give students the opportunity to develop practical skills in research methodology and the skills to manage a sustained piece of academic work. The College Board understands the importance of providing students the freedom to choose a research topic that thoroughly engages them. The evaluation of such a nuanced, multilayered project can only be conducted by highly trained human readers.
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Cambridge Capstone Disputes Commentary