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West Charlotte
High School
2219 Senior Drive
Charlotte, NC 28216
Courier #: 576
P: 980-343-6060  |  F: 980-343-6049 
LC: Central 1
Bell Schedule: 7:15 AM - 2:15 PM
Grades: 9-12
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Graduation Project


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The Graduation Project has four parts: a research paper, product, portfolio, and oral presentation before a review board. These four components are designed to be a culmination of the entire high school experience. To complete the Graduation Project, students will apply skills needed to be successful in post-secondary education and careers. The project requires students to demonstrate what they know and what they can do with the skills acquired in high school. (Students will still be required to achieve proficiency on five End-of-Course tests as well in order to graduate.)

The four components:

  • *         A research paper demonstrating research skills and writing skills
  • *         A product created through the use of knowledge and skills in a meaningful way to accomplish a goal
  • *         A portfolio to catalogue/document tasks, record reflective thinking and insights, as well as demonstrate responsibility for learning as work progresses through the entire process
  • *         An oral presentation, during which, students become a source of information communicating their project work before a review panel



The Paper - Essay Guidelines

  1. The research-based essay can be constructed from any genre, as specified by the English teacher, including but not limited to:
    • Expository
    • Compare and Contrast
    • Cause and Effect
    • Argumentative (Persuasive)
    • Critical Review
    • Analytical
    • Literary
  2. Each essay must cite a minimum of five different sources. Encyclopedias and other general resources are not acceptable, including current, technological reference bundles. Students should strive for variety and balance in their selections.
  3. Essays should be approximately six to eight pages of text.
  4. The thesis statement should be in bold-faced type.
  5. Sources should include at least one primary source, such as original documents, authoritative interviews, or analytical data based on interviews. Primary sources add immediacy and relevance to the research. Students whose primary sources are individuals should note in the text or annotate in the works cited entry the person’s area of expertise. NOTE: Students should identify primary sources with bold-faced type in the list of works cited.
  6. Students should learn to interpret research in terms of possible bias and to examine research in terms of validity. This examination is especially important when students are using on-line sources.
  7. Research should take a variety of forms, both primary and secondary, traditional and non-traditional. Students may design, administer, and analyze surveys, conduct interviews of experts, access on-line databases, or consult portable database products. Students should tailor the type of research to their topic of research to ensure a reasonable balance of sources.
  8. Students should be cautioned not to rely solely on on-line sources.
  9. Students must carefully document all research information they cite in their papers. This should include parenthetical documentation within the paper and a list of works cited at the end of the paper.
  10. Students should access the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for guidelines for appropriate documentation.

    Students should be thoroughly informed of research ethics and the serious consequences of plagiarism.

* Papers are completed during English III, typically during a student's junior year of high school.


The Presentation - Guidelines


  1. Wait for a signal from the Review Board before you begin your presentation, or ask the Review Board members if they are ready.

  2. Introduce yourself to the Review Board.

  3. Remember that you will be making a formal presentation. Please dress appropriately. If you are not sure what constitutes appropriate dress, consult your mentor or English teacher.

  4. Do not chew gum.

  5. Be aware of your body language. Avoid nervous gestures that may adversely affect your presentation.

  6. Maintain eye contact with the Review Board.

  7. Do not read your presentation.

  8. Write a letter of introduction to include in the portfolio. Panel members should read this letter before listening to your presentation.

  9. Practice your presentation several times until you feel comfortable with its format and content. Also, time your presentation to be sure that you do not exceed the ten-minute maximum.

  10. Practice imagining what questions your Review Board might ask you (or ask a parent or a friend to compose questions for you) and plan the answers you would give. Your board may not ask these exact questions, but this will give you an opportunity to practice answering questions. Remember that questions should address a clarification or extension of your topic. Review Boards will be trained regarding the nature of appropriate questions. However, if you are asked a question that you feel is not appropriate (e.g., a question that is purely personal), you have the right to reply politely that the question does not relate to your research.


The Portfolio - Guidelines

The portfolio should serve as a learning record of the process and progress as the journey unfolds through all the steps of the graduation project, including periodic reflections. This physical record of the process and progress will help you keep track of your work. Additionally, this record will help your mentor and academic advisor monitor your project as it develops.

Portfolio Guidelines are as follows:

  1. The appearance and format should be neat and orderly.
  2. The portfolio should be organized using a table of contents.
  3. All forms and content should meet the requirements of the portfolio.
  4. The portfolio should demonstrate depth in academic and personal growth.
  5. The portfolio reflection should provide insight into how the student has anticipated and dealt with changes and contingencies.
  6. The portfolio construction should employ technology.


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