This is the first year of the TAKS test. In years past, students took the TAAS. This year, LISD fared favorably compared to the state average on the new TAKS test. More than 80% of students passed, unfortunately that leaves around 20% that did not. And until those students pass the test, they can not graduate from high school.
In April, 30 seniors in LISD made a last attempt at passing the TAAS test to graduate. 13 of them didn't pass. "It's usually math they have the most difficulty with because they have some holes somewhere in their background," says Janis Sessums, Coordinator for Student Assessment for LISD.
In fact 8 seniors failed the math portion. But out of 1626 11th graders in LISD, 487 did not pass the new exit exam, the TAKS test, that's almost 20%. "They're hard questions. They're not easy and kids have to know a lot in order to pass this test," says Sessums.
Introduced for the first time this year, the TAKS test is longer than the TAAS with four subjects and it's tougher. Here is a sample question from this year's 11th grade exam:
"Marsha brought cookies to school. She gave a third of her cookies to Ana. Ana then gave a fourth of her cookies to Cybil. Cybil gave half of her cookies to Betsy. If Betsy has 2 cookies how many cookies did Marsha have in the beginning."
Confused yet? Well the answer is 48. Along with this are dozens more advanced math and science questions, teachers say many students just haven't covered in class yet.
"This is the first year our students have taken it, teachers have to learn the test so we can teach students to take the test students have to learn the test and that doesn't surprise me at all," says Coronado English Teacher, Pam Ryan.
The 13 seniors that didn't pass will have a chance to re take the TAAS test this summer and then graduate. The 11th graders who did not pass the new TAKS test will have four more chances next year to pass it and graduate.