Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Orange Grove ISD was once again above the state average for the TAKS reading and writing tests across the district.

The district also had a strong showing in the TAKS math exams, with freshman students at Orange Grove High School making great strides in math, from 52.9 percent of students meeting standard last year, to 67 percent this year, which is seven points above the state average.

"I was overall very pleased with test scores this year," superintendent Earl Luce said.

The district did experienced some lower-than-expected numbers in TAKS science and social studies. Sophomores fell five points on the social studies exam to 80 percent, which is below the 86 percent state average. Juniors also dropped from 89.5 percent meeting standard, to 86 percent, which is below the 94 percent state average.

The sharpest declines were seen in the eighth-grade science test, with students falling from 82 percent to 73 percent, which is still above the state average of 70 percent.

Sophomores dipped below the state average of 58 percent in science, from a 66.3 percent last year, to a 52 percent this year.

"We're disappointed with the tenth-grade science score. Social studies scores again are in a range that is acceptable. These are some areas we will continue to work on," Luce said.

The tests this year were more difficult, Luce said, and this year more answers were required to be correct for a student to be considered as having met the standard. Luce said the district will continue to look at the curriculum and work for improvement.

The math exam for third-grade students also showed a decrease, from 91 percent meeting standard last year, to 80 percent this year.

Luce said he's not sure if it's an abnormality or if something occurred there.

"Even though it went down, we're still looking at 80 percent mastery. Our curriculum is correct, we just don't have an answer as to why it went down, and we haven't had time yet to look at it in great detail," Luce said.

The score is only two points below the state average, but it is an area of concern Luce said the district will be addressing.