Two new Advanced Placement courses being introduced next year will focus on developing research and critical-thinking skills that some say many high-school graduates lack. Over the next three years, high-school juniors will be offered the AP/Cambridge Interdisciplinary Investigations and Critical Reasoning Seminar, which will have teams of students researching and writing on topics of global importance. Another course -- the AP/Cambridge Capstone Research Project -- is for 12th-graders and focuses on writing a comprehensive research paper.

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