The WJCC Honors Program, established in 2003, is designed to challenge students to take a cohesive set of Advanced Placement courses and to extend students’ learning through the required Community Service and Honors projects.
An Honors Project is one of the requirements of the Division Honors Program. While the Honors Project may be based in any discipline and may result in a wide variety of final products, the project itself demands that the student design and complete a complex task in an area of personal interest. The project should lead to individual growth and be an extension of learning beyond the student’s coursework. The project begins with a defendable thesis and affords depth, challenge, and rigor as the student stretches his/her interests and talents. The project is not the product but the entire process; therefore, a reflective essay describing the student’s rationale, process, and results must be included.
To allow students to develop the project over sufficient time to show such depth and growth, it is recommended that students propose the projects early in their high school years, and work on the final product over an extended time frame. The Honors Committee meets in the fall, winter, and spring to approve project proposals. Students should submit proposals approximately 7-10 days prior to the announced meeting date so that the committee has time to review the proposal. Proposals for Honors Projects may not be accepted from a student after the final Honors Committee meeting of the student’s junior year.
The project should:
- Be the culminating body of work for the Honors Seal
- Show an understanding of a topic while focusing on an interest important to the learner
- Be unique to each learner
- Demonstrate an appropriate level of difficulty for the learner as well as the learner’s proficiency in skills related to language, research, technology, arts, etc.
- Include a 2-3 page reflective essay detailing the learner’s rationale for the project, the process undertaken by the student, and the outcomes anticipated and achieved by the student
Specifications for Honors Projects
The following comments serve as suggestions rather than limitations.
Research Papers/Scientific Investigation:
- It is difficult to assign length because the depth of the research should guide the product; however, a research paper to fulfill the Honors Project must exceed the requirements of the Senior Research Paper. An expectation of 25 pages of text with additional Works Consulted/Cited pages and full documentation in APA format.
- Students who plan to do research must adhere to Division standards regarding confidentiality and student participation. See the Honors Program Facilitator in your school for an explanation of these requirements.
- The presentation of the research paper may necessitate the creation of additional visual props such as posters, PowerPoint, etc.
- Such a product will be evaluated by Advanced Placement standards
- The presentation is the result of a systematic study of an issue and demonstrates knowledge of various aspects of the issue
- Production techniques must enhance the subject matter under study.
- Projects in the fine arts areas should exceed Advanced Placement standards for portfolios in art, band, dramatic performance, writing, musical composition, and dance
- The presentation is clearly the result of a systematic study of a theme and demonstrates knowledge of various aspects of both the theme and creative techniques.
- Live and/or video performances may be included.
- Learners may choose to address a need or a problem in our community or the larger society. Independently or in conjunction with an approved community service project, the honors project may provide focus to the issue, offer possible solutions, and ideally put such solutions into effect. The learner should consider this project as an opportunity to make a difference in the community or world.
- Such projects should test the learner’s ability to brainstorm practical options, organize resources (financial and human), and implement action toward a concrete goal on a scale appropriate to the problem.
- Honors Projects must be completed no later than the end of the third quarter of the student’s senior year. Honors Program Coordinators and mentors will expect to see completed drafts of projects no later than the interim period of the third quarter.
- By the end of the third quarter of the senior year, learners should discuss with the coordinator the rubric of four criteria for assessment of the project (See the next bullet item for details.). This document will be provided to the reviewers for the evaluation of the Honors Project.
- Division criteria for evaluation include:
- an arguable and defendable thesis outcome, or foreseeable goal with a specified basis of knowledge at the beginning and end;
- a detailed explanation of the process and sources reflecting the depth of research (copies of research materials required as requested and copies of drafts required to show revision and editing);
- a noteworthy project with quality content and product/conclusions;
- a cogent ability to organize materials and communicate effectively, using technology and creativity in the presentation as appropriate.
- The panel of reviewers will be briefed on the rubric and its application. In addition, the reviewers shall receive copies of the projects/papers in advance to prepare questions.
- During the fourth quarter (or at an earlier, pre-arranged time), candidates for the Honors Seal will present the Honors Projects to a panel of knowledgeable professionals and to other interested persons.
Note: The Honors Project and the Community Service Project may be coordinated as two components of a single project.