A capstone experience like this is common in many educational programs at all academic levels. Typically, a capstone experience is understood as a culminating experience where students integrate what they have learned and apply that knowledge to a specific area of interest. The Eagle Achievement is a capstone that should demonstrate a mastery of knowledge. It is, perhaps, the first time in their educational experience when learning will be truly student directed. Students will have broad latitude in selection, development and organization of their learning. Ideally, capstone projects should:
Extend learning and knowledge beyond the limits of traditional classroom learning.
Integrate and synthesized areas of learning
Apply the general, abstract knowledge of the classroom to a specific area of experience
Up to this point, learning has been institutionally directed. Students learn what teachers, school boards and others have decided and success is externally measured. The Eagle Achievement experience, while not completely independent, provides students with considerable latitude for self-directed learning.
The capstone experience is a turning point in the student's educational growth and development and as such it also provides an element of closure to the high school experience. It gives students something to work toward, a goal to which students can strive. It directs students' energies and attentions toward a culminating experience that, when completed, leaves students with a sense of completion and accomplishment which is difficult to achieve in any other way.
Finally, the Eagle Achievement capstone experience provides the student with a finished product, a record of demonstrated accomplishment. When completed, the project can be an important means of demonstrating the student's capacity for independently directed learning, for critical thinking, and growth as a mature learner. The capstone experience can be used to demonstrate these crucial skills to admissions boards, scholarship committees, and prospective employers. Because students can tailor their experiences to suit toward their own unique interests and directions, students can and should use the capstone experiences as a springboard toward the achievement of their academic and professional goals, whatever those goals might be.