They're celebrating at Andy Woods Elementary in Tyler. Ice cream and cake for a job well done on last years TAAS test. But as he spoke at the party, Superintendent David Simmons kept the focus not on the past, but the future.
"As we move from TAAS to TAKS. And, I know that you're already busy working on that transition."
Teachers know the new TAKS test is supposed to be much more difficult than the old TAAS. But the differences between the tests varies by grade level. Third graders still have to take a reading and a mathematics test. But the reading portion will be much longer. Jackie Cannon says she's working to get her class ready for the changes. "Instead of you read something and you're tested, you read something and you're tested, just direct knowledge there's going to be very little of that. It will be more read this three to four page paper and then assimilate all that knowledge and answer these few questions."
Fourth graders also have the same number of tests as last year, reading, writing, and mathematics. But Andy Woods teacher Karen Hendrick says the writing section will require much more critical thinking. "The format will be different for us. I think editing someone else's paper will be little bit more difficult than doing multiple choice."
Fifth grade adds a science test. Seventh grade now has a writing section. Eighth graders will see a new social studies exam. And the changes continue into high school.
Kelly Vannatta's job as TISD Curriculum Coordinator means he has to get all of the district's teachers ready for the challenge. "There's going to be more algebra and geometry questions on the TAKS test. Where there wasn't as many on the TAAS test. It's just more curriculum based. It's more aligned to the text than the TAAS was."