Test companies monitoring social media to find cheating

  • A Facebook user comments on a Daily Herald story about PARCC testing, explaining why she thinks test is a bad idea for students.

    A Facebook user comments on a Daily Herald story about PARCC testing, explaining why she thinks test is a bad idea for students.

 
 
Updated 3/19/2015 6:38 PM

Afraid that students will use their phones to photograph test questions and share them on social media -- like happened in New Jersey last week -- testing companies are monitoring students' social media accounts.

In the New Jersey case, Watchung Hills Regional High School District Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett said the state Education Department contacted her district at a testing company's request at 10 p.m. one night with news of a possible test breach -- a student apparently had posted a photo of a question from the PARCC test on Twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Luci Willits, deputy executive director of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, said her group uses student workers to do hashtag searches online to see if anyone is posting the test itself. Last year, when 4 million students took a trial run version of that test, she said about 75 breaches were discovered.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is giving Common Core-measuring exams in 18 states this spring.

"Copyright and test security are not new issues in testing. What's different is the social media aspect," Willits said. "You wouldn't approve of a student taking copies of the test and handing it out to friends or posting it on the locker."

A frequent parental criticism of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test is that it is too hard. In places where the test has been given, students scores have dramatically dropped.

High school students also complain that PARCC doesn't measure their own progress and won't help them get into college, like their AP tests and the ACT do..

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