A Texas company has devised an online test to help second-graders prepare for a new statewide exam that debuts in 2003, called the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

TAKS, which will be given in grades three through 11, replaces the 10-year-old Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test, or TAAS. Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Debbie Graves-Ratcliffe said the agency predicts a drop in the state's test scores. "A huge number of our kids are acing the [TAAS] test. It's not much of a challenge for them, so it's time to ratchet it up," she


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