Darien students to be exposed to CAPT content in courses
A recent analysis of the high school CAPT scores for high school students has given the administration the means to focus on low-scoreing areas.
CAPT results for the high school showed that passing math scores dropped from 85.4 percent in 2009 to 80.4 percent in 2010. Science scores showed an even greater drop as 73.6 percent of the students received a passing grade in 2009 as opposed to 66.8 percent in 2010.
Board of Education Chairwoman Kimberly Westcott said the analysis was extremely useful because it gave everyone an idea of what areas needed improvement.
"This analysis is important because it's very informative to at the benefits of the testing," Westcott said. One of the concerns Westcott said people have had in the past is avoiding teaching to the tests.
"These state tests are very good," Westcott said. "They help us address where the areas of improvement are."
In order to address the areas of the greatest weakness, especially in science, teachers will begin incorporating information on the CAPT into the regular curriculum so that students will be exposed to the testing material.
"The department likes the way the science curriculum is structured and one of the advantages is that we find students can go farther in science," Westcott said.
A further analysis of the scores from both the elementary and middle schools showed a common weakness at the elementary level -- reading comprehension.
"There is only one strand where all the districts perform poorly and that's in reading comprehension," Wescott said.
However, she did note that middle school test scores across the board were very strong.
In an analysis of the scores, Assistant Superintendent Matthew Byrnes offered some solutions for improving the overall test scores at the high school level in math and science. In math, teachers of sophomore courses would include CAPT problems -- or problems modeled like CAPT problems -- in the regular curriculum. As well, students will also be exposed to reasoning-heavy CAPT problems on each test, the memo stated.
To help improve science scores, the memo outlines a plan to include CAPT-style questions on every regular unit test throughout the year and to give all sophomores a CAPT science assessment test at the beginning of the second semester, the memo says. The test results would be used to help teachers and students prepare during the CAPT review sessions, the memo says.