Plenty of school districts have come out in the past few days telling us that TAKS scores improved in their districts this year. If those scores didn’t improve hugely, then the districts have nothing to celebrate.

KVUE’ headline put it well: “50% is passing grade for some TAKS tests”. And the Houston Chronicle titled a feature story: “A lowered bar raises doubts over TAKS standards”.

“Texas schoolchildren generally performed better on the all-important TAKS test this year, but some superintendents, state lawmakers and statisticians are casting doubt on the gains,” reported the Chronicle.

The story continues with: “That’s because the Texas Education Agency required students to answer fewer questions correctly to pass most sections of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. In some cases, students could pass by getting fewer than half of the items right — an unusually low standard, according to several education researchers.” (Really? I’m surprised they consider that a low standard!)

So when your local district reports to you that scores went up, remember that unless scores went up massively, it’s likely there were no gains.

Robert Pratt is host of the top-rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at