Advanced Placement

The information on this page has been updated for the 2020-21 school year. Please see the 2019-20 Valley and Valley Southwoods course description catalogs if needed.

Advanced Placement is an international program of college-level rigorous curriculum of courses and examinations. Valley High School currently offers 25 classes to prepare students for the examinations each May. Advanced Placement coursework and examination scores are used for college admissions and acceleration. College credit is granted if an acceptable score has been earned on an Advanced Placement examination given in May. Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student.

AP courses presently offered are:

  • Art:  AP Studio Art
  • Computer Science:  AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles
  • Language Arts:  AP Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition
  • Math:  AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics
  • Music:  AP Music Theory
  • Science:  AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science with AP Seminar (PBLN), AP Physics
  • Social Studies:  AP European History, AP Human Geography (VSW), AP Macroeconomics, AP Psychology, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, and AP World History
  • World Languages:  AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP French, AP Latin, AP Spanish

Those students not writing the AP exam will have the course designated “Accelerated _____________________” on their transcript, and their grade will not be weighted. Both semesters of a year-long course plus writing the AP exam is required for a weighted grade.

Successful completion of an Advanced Placement course requires much more commitment to study time than a normal high school class. Therefore, before registering for these classes, it is highly recommended that the student assess his or her total course schedule as well as the amount of involvement in extracurricular activities. Students should consider including at least one study hall each day for additional assistance and an opportunity for make-up after an absence.

AP Capstone

AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program from the College Board that equips students with the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges.  AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two AP courses—AP Seminar and AP Research—and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline-specific study experienced in other AP courses.

AP Seminar (Project-Based Learning Network)

AP Seminar is integrated with AP Environmental Science using project-based learning instructional strategies.

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.

AP Research (Prerequisite:  AP Seminar)

AP Research allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest.  Through this exploration, students design, plan, and conduct a year-long, research-based investigation to address a research question.  In the AP Research course, students further their skills acquired in the AP Seminar course by understanding research methodology; employing ethical research practices; and accessing. Analyzing, and synthesizing information as they address a research question.  Students explore their skill development, document their processes, and curate the artifacts of the development of their scholarly work in a portfolio. The course culminates in an academic paper of 4000-5000 words (accompanied by a performance or exhibition of product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.

Taking the Advanced Placement exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Those students not writing the AP exam will have the course designated “Accelerated Environmental Science” on their transcript, and their grade will not be weighted. Both semesters of a yearlong course, plus writing the AP exam, are required for a weighted grade.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student.  If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information