Bill McKenzie of the Dallas Morning Snooze is at it again. McKenzie continues to spread his special brand of journalistic fertilizer, and as it heats up in Dallas, the stench can be overwhelming.
His last little blog heralded the great passing scores on the state Algebra II tests with a hint that all high school students should take the Algebra II STAAR since things are going so well.
Bill apparently pays no attention to anything at the campus level in Texas schools, but the Snooze continues the pretense that McKenzie is an expert on education policy in Texas.
So here’s the key to understanding those Algebra II test scores, Bill.
The only sophomores in Texas being tested in Algebra II were the very advanced students, Bill. The remainder of students were in Geometry, Bill, and results were not newsworthy. Yes, if we test only the top ten percent of students in Texas who are on the advanced track in math, we get great results on a test where only 38% of the answers must be correct.
A giant DUH is welling up again after reading McKenzie’s little blog thing, the little inaccurate blog thing that brings in McKenzie’s daily bread.
The same miracle in test scores could be witnessed in the scores of Algebra I students who took the test as eighth graders last year and this year. These kids have outstanding scores, even though the validity of the test is extremely questionable since merely guessing is a small step below the required percentage to pass.
McKenzie also decided to share the results of the high school reading and writing tests, results which were abysmal.
This is also no news.
We’ve said for years that the short reading sections on the TAKS gave false results when compared to the gold standard ITBS scores.
We assume Bill McKenzie can read. We assume Bill knows that Pearson hauls in people off the street through advertising on Craigslist and pays these readers $10-$13 an hour to spend seconds reading our students’ STAAR writing samples.
We think Bill might look into this boondoggle for Pearson whose primary interest is making money, not saving Texas children from poor writing habits.
We’ve also previously compared ACT results of schools such as Uplift’s Peak Preparatory that indicated no higher level of college readiness than Dallas ISD’s lowest performing high schools, even though Peak’s TAKS results were stellar. We’ve warned for years that standardized tests are dumbing down our kids, but old Bill still worships at Pearson’s altar.
For the Snooze to continue to pay Bill McKenzie to write blogs when Bill doesn’t even understand the course sequence in Texas high schools is a shame. The editorial staff should be embarrassed since accuracy is the first rule of journalism. McKenzie fails constantly at understanding the different cut rates of end of course exams, understanding the number of students from the first round of testing who have still not passed and the consequences on graduation rates.
It may be the heat in Dallas, Texas, but the stench of manure coming from the DMN is overwhelming.