AUSTIN (AP) _ Ninety-two percent of Texas eighth-graders, required this year to pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills to be promoted, have passed the reading part the exam.

The 25,644 students who failed the standardized test will have two more chances to pass it to avoid repeating eighth grade. All eighth-graders also must pass the TAKS math exam, to be given on April 8.

Texas Education Agency officials on Tuesday also released test results for third- and fifth-graders, the other two groups of students who must pass the TAKS to be promoted.

Eighty-eight percent of third-graders passed the TAKS reading exam, and 83 percent of fifth-graders passed, similar to last year's results.

This is the first year eighth-graders must pass the TAKS to advance to the ninth grade under a state law aimed at stopping the practice of social promotion, or automatically passing students regardless of achievement. It's the fourth year that fifth-graders have been required to pass under the tougher promotion standard and the sixth year for third-graders.

By ethnic group, the passing rates for eighth-graders were 87 percent for black students, 89 percent for Hispanics, 96 percent for whites and 97 percent for Asian-Americans.

The 12 percent of third-graders who failed the TAKS reading test and the 17 percent of fifth-graders who failed also will have two more opportunities to pass, in April and July. Third-graders only have to pass the reading portion of the TAKS, while fifth-graders must pass in reading and math.

Students who failed the test must be given extra instructional help in reading during or after school to prepare them for the retests.

Information from The Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle: and

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.