Changes in State Law May Affect Capstone

Capstone is at BHS for now, but changes may soon be coming.

By Hunter Carden

 What use is Capstone for Branford High School students? Do colleges actually look at the project? And is it truly as important as teachers say? Students have been asking questions like these for years.

“Capstone is part of a students overall transcript, and colleges will be concerned when students are unable to fulfill the requirement or earn failing grades,” said Mr. Mike Griffin, the BHS Capstone coordinator, “...different types of criteria including Capstone projects are considered by different types of colleges and universities.”

On a recent visit to the BHS Career Center, a Merrimack College representative said, “if we see it [Capstone], it can add to the strength of your application.” Merrimack College does not look at SAT’s or ACT’s, but instead focuses on a student's application essay and other factors.

But what should students care if colleges don’t look?

Capstone is not about just getting into college, according to Griffin, but, is “...the best preparation we offer at Branford High School for university courses in that it ensures students are able to adjust to the increased expectations for autonomous and monitoring of learning goals. It demonstrates a self-motivated mature learner that can perform well without the huge support offered at High School level.”

Mr. White, a BHS guidance counselor, said that the future Capstone may be replaced by tests connected to the state's  Common Core Standards.

“They have started introducing standards into the elementary schools,” said White, “the testing will be more like New York testing with regional exams that students must pass to be done with high school.”

These standards include Capstone, which may or may not change, and amount of credits needed to graduate high school (from 20 to 25). The state of Connecticut put these standards into effect in 2009. The plan was originally supposed to take full effect by 2015 but has been set back for further development.

White went on to say that the student's Capstone project should be meaningful to the student, and that it should incorporate what the student may want to learn in college.

Colleges may not look at Capstone because they are not a required or dominating score on a student's transcript, but putting it out there can only benefit the student if it does get seen. It is a preparation for college, even if it may change.