Keith Bogardus

Graduation Project Guidelines

Approval Process

Prior Approval - Schools shall develop a process for students to receive prior approval of Graduation Project topics as early as their junior year. The opportunity for prior approval will allow students to work on the product/practical experience in the summer prior to their senior year.

Proposal Letter* - The proposal letter shall include the following:

  • Description of the research topic

  • Prior knowledge and experience in that subject area

  • How the project will be a growth experience or “stretch”

  • What kind of product/practical experience will be presented with the research and how they are related

  • Graduation Project and CTE Advanced Studies Curriculum: In the event that a student plans to integrate their CTE Advanced Studies or Internship Coursework with Graduation Project, that student must articulate how their graduation project hours will reflect an extension of their CTE work. CTE Internship may be used for Graduation Project hours so long as this extension is articulated in the proposal and approved by the school Graduation Project Committee

  • The closing paragraph should explain the student’s understanding of plagiarism and why it is unethical to use another’s words, ideas and work as his/her own. This includes the product/practical experience as well as the paper.

* Schools may choose to include formal business letter to judges in lieu of proposal letter.

Review Process - Topics shall be reviewed by a school based committee/board (minimum of three) using the following criteria:

  • The topic must be challenging and represent significant learning over time.

  • The research topic must be clear and not too broad or too narrow.

  • The product or practical experience will require a minimum of fifteen hours to complete. Five of the hours should be with your mentor.

  • There must be a clear correlation between the product and the research topic.

  • The product or practical experience must be in compliance with BCS Board policies and State/Federal law.


The type of paper, argumentative or informational, should be aligned with the student’s choice of topic.  The research paper should meet the following criteria:

  • The length of paper shall be eight to ten pages.  Honors and Advanced Placement students may exceed this limit due to more in-depth research and writing on the topic.  Accommodations (abbreviated/modified assignments) should be made for students per Limited English Proficient Plans, Individualized Education Plans, and 504 Plans.

  • MLA format including a works cited page

  • Double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font

  • Minimum of five sources. A variety of source-types must be used, including a personal interview of project expert/ mentor (interview can be virtual).

  • The paper will be evaluated by the criteria detailed in the BCS Graduation Project Paper Rubric.


The product should be an appropriate outgrowth or extension of the research.  Cost waiver must be completed by parent/ guardian for projects exceeding $100.00.  

The product/practical experience will be evaluated by the criteria detailed in the BCS Graduation Project Product Rubric.  Documentation must be presented with the product that will provide evidence of meeting evaluation criteria.  Examples of documentation include the mentor log, project log, journal entries, work samples, and video representations.

The product can take a variety of forms such as learning a new skill, producing a physical product, or providing a community service. Community service hours are not required.



Review panel members will have the opportunity to preview the student portfolio prior to the presentation to become familiar with the topic but are not to grade the portfolio.  The evaluation of the portfolio will be completed by the teacher using the BCS Graduation Project Portfolio Rubric.


All review panel members will be provided training prior to the presentations in a central location by the Graduation Project Coordinator or designee.  It is important that this training is conducted in a whole school format to ensure consistency and equity.  The review panel should consist of a minimum of two, preferably three, people to provide balanced feedback to the student.  The review panel should consist of community and faculty members to provide an authentic audience for the students.  The review panel will use the BCS Graduation Project Presentation Rubric to evaluate the presentation.  Upon completion of the presentation, each judge will complete a rubric. Rubric scores will be averaged for a final grade.


The BCS Graduation Project Mentor is an adult member of the community or faculty who serves as a support and resource to the student in all stages of the graduation project process; this person may also serve as project expert.  The Mentor may not be a household family member of the student unless approved by the Principal to accommodate extenuating circumstances.  More than one person may serve as a student’s Mentor.  For example, a student may collaborate with an expert on their project topic for a portion of the required hours and rely on another person for support with the research paper, product portfolio, and oral presentation.  Mentor support may be face-to-face but may also be virtual via phone, email, standard mail, etc.  The Mentor/Parent Consent Form will be used to document parent approval of mentors for students. Original document link