The Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) program is a unique opportunity for students in grades 10 through 12 to explore a new interest or dive deeper into a topic they are passionate about by engaging in original research in an area of their choosing.
Students are encouraged to collaborate on a shared project when appropriate. Students participating in AAR are encouraged in their exploration through four pillars of support: parents, mentors, teachers, and the district.
Students are paired with mentors who are experts in the field of the student’s choosing. The mentor supports and facilitates each student’s work in the mentor’s lab, office, or other appropriate environment, and provides the content expertise and individual guidance that allows students to thrive as they explore their chosen topics.
A process-oriented curriculum, developed by the AAR team, supports students as they research. Students meet twice a week in a classroom setting, where teachers guide them through the research progress.
Students are expected to spend about 60 hours per semester (3-4 hours per week) on their projects. The program is UC “g” approved, and students earn 5 CTE credits per semester.
1. Complete Course Registration & AAR Enrollment
- The site coordinator will reach out to students with the AAR enrollment form upon registration closure.
- Students should spend time reflecting on possible areas of investigation (e.g., music, humanities, sports, science, engineering, mathematics).
- During program enrollment, they will be asked to identify and rank their top three areas of interest, which will be used to match them to appropriate mentors.
2. Establish Relationship with a Mentor
- Each student will forge an interactive partnership with their mentor to pursue exploration within a chosen topic.
- Students are expected to demonstrate proper etiquette and conduct themselves in a courteous and professional manner following the Exploratory Experience Guidelines.
3. Write a Research Proposal
- With the aid of their mentors, students will spend time exploring their chosen topic as they narrow down a specific research question.
- In collaboration with their mentors, students will write a plan of investigation that adheres to AAR proposal guidelines.
4. Document and Report Progress
- Each student will develop and document an investigation process for addressing their research question.
- Using that process, the student will collect and analyze data.
5. Finalize and Share Research Findings
- Once the data has been collected and analyzed, students will write and share their research findings with relevant organizations and communities.
- Each student project will result in a poster presentation and a formal research paper.
- With their mentor’s permission, students may submit their final projects for publication in Journal AIR, an AAR-sponsored academic journal that has been established in partnership with Stanford to share original research by high school students.
6. Present at the AAR Celebratory Showcase
- Students are expected to attend the Celebratory Showcase at the end of the year to present their projects and see the results of fellow students’ work.