Is this the end of CAPTain Courageous?


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by Kelly Du

Is this the end of CAPTain Courageous? All signs point to yes. It’s been a few weeks since CAPT exams have finished, but Branford High School is preparing to switch to a new state test called Smarter Balanced.

Branford High School is one out of 6000 schools across the country that is voluntarily participating in this Pilot Test.

Beginning this week, sophomores taking U.S. History second semester and juniors taking American Literature will be piloting the tests during class. In total, there will be about 300 students piloting the test for language arts over the course of three days.

“We have been assigned the type two test which will consist of three sessions. Part one multiple choice and short answer. Part two will be performance task and part three will be writing on this task. The whole test is done on the computer,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mary Peraro.

The switch to the digital age means that pencils will be long gone as essays and short answers will be typed out. Allowing it to be done on the computer allows for the test to be much more interactive with videos and images, but the mathematics section may be cause of concern when showing work on the computer. One benefit is that using technology makes things more precise and efficient than fixed-form testing. Teachers, principals, and parents can receive faster results in weeks instead of months to better meet the unique needs of the students.

The Smarter Balanced test is set to replace CAPT in the spring of 2015. It consists of language arts and mathematics sections, but the science section from CAPT will also be added on.  A major change is that instead of sophomores, juniors will be taking them. Unfortunately, this means that current freshman of the Class of 2016 will have to take both CAPT and Smarter Balanced in their sophomore and junior years.

When asked why juniors instead of sophomores will be taking the test, Principal Mr. Panagoulias said, “Smarter Balanced will include more algebra and test higher level of writing.”

According to the Smarter Balanced website, it states that the tests “will go beyond multiple-choice questions and include short constructed response, extended constructed response, and performance tasks that allow students to complete an in-depth project that demonstrate analytical skills and real-world problem solving.”

All of this is in part to prepare students for college and career. To get a sense of what the test will be like, sample questions are found here.