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STAAR test results for ninth-graders 'sobering'

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DALLAS (AP)--If the final standards were already in place, more than half of Texas high school freshmen would have failed the new, more rigorous end-of-course standardized tests in five key areas.

Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe is calling results of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests released Friday "sobering."

This spring, more than 319,000 ninth-grade students took the STAAR end-of-course exams for the first time.

When their scores were judged against the state's final standards, which will be used in 2016, the passing rate in biology was only 41 percent. It was 34 percent in English writing.

Ratcliffe says the scores make the districts realize "we all have a lot of work do if we're going to keep these students on track to graduate on time."

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