Gains made this year by Texas students on state tests are being questioned because of changes that lowered the standard for passing the tests. Education officials defended the changes -- designed to offset more difficult questions on this year's tests -- but others criticized a standard that had eighth-graders needing to answer just 44% of questions correctly on the social studies exam to earn a passing grade. "How can a score of less than 50 percent be passing on a test that's supposed to assure us that students know the curriculum?" one state lawmaker said.

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