Senior Project

What is Senior Project?

A Guide for Sizer Seniors

The Vision:
Sizer strives to graduate and promote students based on Presentations of learning.  Senior Project is a graduation requirement but more importantly, it is an opportunity for a student to independently explore a topic of her/his choosing.  A demonstration of a personalized learning experience, Senior Project is designed as a “spring board” into life beyond Sizer, allowing students to move beyond the limiting, often stifling world of high school.  

The Reality:
Senior Project is a time-intensive, demanding project requiring a level of commitment beyond that of any other academic endeavor attempted at Sizer.  The project provides an opportunity for students at Sizer to merge their various interests, passions, and curiosities with their academic pursuits.  Finally, Senior Project serves as the ultimate Presentation of a student’s ability to think independently, care about others, and act creatively and responsibly.

The Four (Assessed) Components of Senior Project

  • The Research:  Academic rigor is an essential element of the Senior Project at Sizer.   Each Senior Project should challenge the student to think critically—beyond what s/he already knows.  You are required to conduct scholarly research as you explore your topic and keep detailed records of your research. You should consider your topic from multiple perspectives, yet the project should not be so big as to lead only to a superficial understanding.
  • The Process:  You will keep a binder documenting the process of the entire project.  The binder includes, but is not limited to, proposals, conferences, interview records, research notes, timeline, and all Research Summaries and proposal drafts.
  • The Product:  The application of research is an exercise in synthesis: the assembling of critical elements of knowledge and to make or do something with your knowledge.  After thoroughly researching a topic you will create a product demonstrating mastery of your subject.  You have wide discretion in choosing the type of product you wish to create. You may choose from: creating a physical product, creating intellectual property, planning and executing an event, or improving an existing system.  Ideally, the product should: reflect your understanding, serve as an extension of your learning, and communicate your mastery of the subject to an audience in a comprehensive manner.
  • The Presentation:  This is the time for you to demonstrate to the community your mastery over the subject you chose.   It is a showcase of your entire Senior Project, from choosing a topic, researching it and how you used your knowledge to create something new. This formal presentation is 20-30 minutes long.

Passing and Passing with Distinction
There are four assessed areas of Senior Project: Research, Process, Product and Presentation.  Students who demonstrate that their writing, speaking, research, and organization skills are of the highest level will be awarded a  Pass with Distinction and receive an Exemplary on their final report card and permanent transcript. Details on how to earn a Pass with Distinction are in the Appendix.

The Senior Project Binder
In order to demonstrate skills as an independent learner, seniors must present evidence of their ability to problem solve, research, organize time and reflect on themselves as a learner. The vehicle used to do this is the Senior Project Binder, a three-ring binder about two inches thick.

Why am I required to complete a Senior Project?
The Sizer Handbook states that a goal of our school program is to award diplomas based on exhibited competencies.  Many times in the course of a school year, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding and /or skill level in a specific area.   The intention of Senior Project is to allow graduating seniors the opportunity to demonstrate their skills as independent learners.  This graduation presentation will be evidence of your ability to problem solve, research, organize your time and resources, communicate effectively and reflect on yourself as a learner.  The interest factor is important because it will give you staying power as you seek answers to your essential question(s), but remember that you are demonstrating competence in the areas described above and the burden of proof is on you through your research, process (binder), product, and presentation.