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MURRIETA: Students face discipline for posting state tests online

May 4, 2012

MURRIETA: Students face discipline for posting state tests online

Technology and test-taking…just one more reason high-stakes testing has gone too far.  The pressure on everyone involved has gone over the top.

MURRIETA: Students face discipline for posting state tests online

Some Murrieta Valley Unified students are facing possible punishment but it’s been done statewide

Some students at Murrieta Mesa High School face suspension because they posted photos of state standardized testing documents on social networking sites, violating security procedures for the exams.


Published: 03 May 2012 11:49 AM

 Several Murrieta Valley students are facing suspension because they posted photos of state testing documents on social networking websites, violating security procedures for the exams.

District officials were notified of some of the incidents Wednesday and Thursday by state education officials and discovered others while investigating, Murrieta Valley spokeswoman Karen Parris said.

School officials don’t think the students were trying to cheat on the exams, Parris said. One photo was of a student’s drawing on an exam booklet, she said.

Posting photos of the state testing materials, including question booklets and answer sheets, is a breech of security protocol designed to protect the integrity of the exams.

Scores of photos of testing materials have shown up online this year on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and Webstagram, according to a news release from the California Department of Education.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued a warning April 27 to superintendents and testing coordinators after photos were spotted on several sites.

Tina Jung, a spokeswoman for the department, said Thursday that state officials were still investigating the postings. She did not have information about how many postings had occurred or how many schools were involved.

A search of the term “CST,” the acronym for California Standards Tests, showed more than 1,600 photos on Webstagram on Thursday morning. Among them were photos of students’ testing booklets, pictures doodled in margins, and portions of students’ answer sheets from schools across the state.

The Murrieta Valley students’ photos were posted using the smart phone application Instagram, Parris said. The photos also appeared on the social networking website, a photo-sharing site.

Three students from Murrieta Mesa High School, two from Murrieta Valley High School and two from Shivela Middle School posted photos online, Parris said. Three other students took photos but do not appear to have posted them, she said.

“This is just an extension of how students live their lives online,” Parris said. They take and share photos of everything, from what they eat to what they are wearing, she said.

State officials have asked website operators to remove the postings and begun notifying school districts of the security breeches. Education department officials also have asked ETS, the state’s testing contractor, to review the images to determine the extent to which any exam may have been compromised, a news release said.

Some Murrieta Valley principals sent automated phone messages to students’ homes, reminding them and their parents about cellphone policies and the consequences.

Students who violate security procedures for the tests will have their electronic devices confiscated and face suspension of up to five days, the message said.


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