Students across Texas did better than expected. The state says scores on last month's TAKS exams were higher than predicted. TISD schools did better than the elevated state average. And Griffin Elementary even beat the district's average on what was supposed to be the hardest reading test yet.
In Ramon Vazquez's third grade class, the kids don't just study current events, they make headlines. "These children are used to hard work. I expect a lot from them."
On the English version of the TAKS reading exam, scores in Texas averaged 89 percent passing. While that's higher than expected, both TISD and Griffin Elementary beat the mark with a 92 percent score.
On the Spanish version, the gap is even bigger. Only 82% state wide passed. TISD recorded a 85% passing, while Griffin reached 95% success.
"95%. Only one student missed it, by one question by the way," says Vazquez. His students are developing in English and Spannish at the same time. But he says it's not so much what's being taught as how it's being taught. "We spend pretty much the whole year teaching the objectives, and then January on, we teach the strategies to take the test."
"Students may be able to read, write, compute, analyze," says Principal Orenthia Mason. "But, unless they know how to take a test, how to eliminate incorrect answers, how to analyze to select correct answers, then they will not be able to be successful on a test."
Griffin third graders have not only mastered the fundamentals of reading, but they've also learned how to prove it.
Bonner Elementary in Tyler also did well. 100% of Bonner 3rd graders passed the English version of the reading test.