Cybertimes, July 21, 1999

http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/07/cyber/education/ 21education.html

Students in Texas can now go online to get help in preparing for the state’s standardized assessment exams.

The nonprofit Texas Business and Education Coalition has posted on its web site practice questions based on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), a test taken by nearly all public school students in grades 3-8, as well as by high school seniors as part of their graduation requirements.

The practice tests are designed not only to help students prepare for the TAAS, but also to help increase the comfort level of their parents, many of whom have expressed concerns about the tests.

The Texas Education Agency says that while the web site offers a potentially effective tool for students, there are no guarantees that good scores on the sample tests will translate into equally high marks on the real thing.

And even Test Masters, the company that runs the web site and prepares the samples, says the practice tests should be used to give students a better idea of what they might see on the TAAS, rather than to gauge how well they might actually do.

Meanwhile, students in other parts of the country may soon be able to join those in Texas in going online for help, as companies such as Kaplan and The Princeton Review are poised to begin offering sample questions for a range of state tests on their web sites.