It is with enormous pride that we announce that Vibha G., Class of 2019, earned a perfect score in last year’s AP Seminar exam!
"Vibha’s perfect score in AP Seminar has raised the bar for our students and faculty not only at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley but across the entire BASIS network. Given the rarity of this achievement combined with the complexity of this course, Vibha has handed our school another golden feather to put in our already decorated cap.”
- Mr. Meyerowitz, Vibha's AP Seminar Instructor
AP Seminar comprises the first half of the AP Capstone program, which has become the gold standard in assessing student readiness for top colleges in the world. AP Seminar, which was first offered at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley in 2016, is the first truly interdisciplinary College Board course; students analyze and synthesize texts in a variety of genres, deconstruct the arguments of contemporary scholars and evaluate their credibility, and work both collaboratively and independently to craft research-driven essays and presentations in a variety of disciplines.
In AP Seminar, students learn the tools of scholarship: how to read and write peer-reviewed articles, how to use scholarship to support their own arguments about contemporary concerns, and how to deliver professional presentations to their faculty and peers. In AP Research, the second year of AP Capstone, students utilize these same skills to find a gap in the literature and to develop a method by which to prove an original hypothesis that will contribute directly to the extant scholarship.
Vibha’s perfect score in AP Seminar is a landmark achievement; whereas other AP courses require a single exam at the end of the academic year, AP Seminar requires two performance tasks, each consisting of a paper and a presentation, and an end-of-course exam.
"I took AP European History in grade 10 and I really enjoyed Mr. Meyerowitz's class. It was also in the class and in talking with Mr. Meyerowitz that I started getting interested in international relations. That, along with my friends, drove me to take the AP Seminar in grade 11." - Vibha G., Class of 2019
In her first performance task, Vibha collaborated with a team and explored the issues surrounding the construction and utility of Olympic sports stadia and villages. For her portion of the team project, she sought to determine the extent to which Olympic Games affect the communities in host cities and whether and what kind of reform may be necessary to mitigate the financial and social burdens of sponsoring these global sporting competitions, especially in developing countries. Vibha and her teammates reviewed the scholarship related to this topic, summarized and synthesized academic and popular sources, and analyzed their subject through an array of lenses. They then delivered a multimedia presentation in which they expressed their arguments related to the challenges of hosting the Games and evaluated potential solutions.
"We prepared for what felt like ages, had hangouts, and were really supportive of each other. We all worked together which was nice because Mr. Meyerowitz couldn't offer us advice. He has to stay neutral, but my peers could read something or watch me present and give me feedback and critique me. But I could always tell when Mr. Meyerowitz was proud of me. He would slightly nod during a presentation - I don't think he could help it!" - Vibha G., Class of 2019
In her second performance task, Vibha worked independently to explore the ways in which western media have “Orientalized” North Korea and North Koreans and constructed them as modern bogeymen rather than in their social, economic, or political contexts. As with her first performance task, she used a variety of scholarly and popular sources to illustrate how the West has projected North Korea as an inversion of our land and values and how this has served to marginalize and erase North Koreans in the popular imagination. Vibha’s paper and presentation explored how frayed diplomacy between North Korea and the West is a consequence of the Western media’s stock portrayals of North Korea as both a figure of ridicule and terror, a construction of the “Orient” that has deep roots in Western depictions of Asia throughout history.
Finally, Vibha completed an exam that included argument analysis and writing an essay that synthesized texts from a variety of genres. Collectively, Vibha’s perfect score in the performance tasks and final exam is a rare feat; in fact, Vibha was one of six students worldwide (about 1/100th of a percent) to achieve this honor.
"I'm a better student because of it. I learned new skills. It was hard, but I never felt like I couldn't do it. If I didn't do well on something - I pushed past it and kept going. I'm so glad I did." - Vibha G., Class of 2019
Vibha’s achievement is a testament to her ability to work across disciplines and to produce and present scholarship collaboratively as well as independently. Of course, Vibha did not achieve this most coveted recognition by the College Board in a vacuum: her peers, school faculty, and her family have given her incredible support, a fact Vibha gratefully acknowledges.
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