First year teachers need to have a basic understanding of the TAKS competency test that is administered to students. In 2002, the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test (TAAS) was replaced with the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test (TAKS). The TAAS test had been used in public schools to assess student learning and competency for the past twelve years. The TAKS test was developed to be more rigorous in nature and to cover a more broad range of materials. The TAKS test was first administered in the spring of 2003.
- Reading (grades 3-9)
- Writing (grades 4 and 7)
- English language arts (grades 10 and 11)
- Mathematics (grades 3-11)
- Science (grades 5, 10, and 11)
- Social Studies (grades 8, 10, 11)
TEKS standards have been the state mandated curriculum for teachers in the state of Texas to follow since 1998. The legislature in Texas mandated the higher standards to improve education and to help ensure children are prepared for college and global challenges. The TAKS test was developed by the Student Assessment, Curriculum and Professional Development Divisions of the Texas Education Agency to ensure the TEKS curriculum could be met.
The TAKS test was developed to be more rigorous in nature and to match the state curriculum outlined in the TEKS guidelines. The TAKS test will test students in grades 3-11 annually. Each student must pass the required test to be promoted to the next grade. Students in grade 3 must pass the reading section of the TAKS test to be promoted to the fourth grade. Students in the fifth grade must pass the reading and mathematics sections of the TAKS test to be promoted to the sixth grade. Students in the eighth grade must pass the reading and mathematics portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the ninth grade. An exit-level examination will be administered each year to all 11th graders.
A student will have multiple opportunities to pass each section of the TAKS test. However, after the student has failed the section three times, a committee comprising the principal, teacher and parents will decide whether or not to promote the student to the next grade level. Students who fail to pass the 11th grade assessment will not be able to graduate.
Much of the responsibility to educate and prepare students for the TAKS test falls on teachers. Teachers need to integrate TEKS curriculum into their lessons to assure each student is prepared for the TAKS test.