TAKS Prep Strengthens

Assistant superintendent for academic instruction, Dr. Peggy Cox has been thinking TAKS all year long, so you won't hear the groan from her that often comes from young students when the topic is mentioned.

On Monday a regional TAKS testing training session will be conducted for area school districts in Lufkin. All that sort of thing will increase as the assessment draws closer. but TAKS preparation for the staff and students actually began the first day of school. Cox says it's paying off. "At least the last 4 years we've made significant improvement in achievement. It's been good steady gains."

Cox wants to keep skills sharpened. Most students have already taken TAKS release tests, in addition to benchmark tests given each six weeks. Cox knows the frequent tests are noticed by students and parents. "We are tested more in the state because we're testing the sciences and the social studies. Science is a new tested area and it's a stand alone grade." Which are grade levels that don't require passing marks in order for students to advance to the next grade. Nevertheless, administrators say the exams are necessary to prepare for the test of all tests, the EXIT exam. That's the one to pass for graduation.

Cox is aware all the state exam results will probably undergo close review as a way to prevent cheating by students and administrators. One proposal includes random audits of test scores. Cox said, "We'll do whatever is requested. It will require additional time which is always an issue for a school district, especially this time of year when we're getting geared up to administer the TAKS test. There have been no red flags at least coming from our end of it and certainly at this point not from the state and we just continue to do business as usual."

The school district is offering tutoring sessions and some service agencies that are concerned about student achievement provide help. TAKS testing will begin February 20 and continue into summer.