Assessment News in Brief

Pearson, PARCC Knocked for Monitoring Students’ Social Media

By Sean Cavanagh — March 24, 2015 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

An attempt to monitor students’ social-media use to prevent the sharing of test information—initially flagged by a school superintendent in New Jersey—has generated a blast of criticism toward the PARCC assessment and at Pearson, the contractor hired to administer it.

The controversy emerged this month when Elizabeth C. Jewett, the superintendent of the Watchung Hills Regional Learning Community in New Jersey, wrote a letter to other district leaders voicing surprise about how information about a possible testing breach had been relayed to her. She said that she had received an alert from the state’s education department, which had in turn learned from Pearson about a student supposedly sharing the content of a test question via Twitter.

After investigating the issue, Ms. Jewett said that the initial report was false. But in her letter, she said the department told her that Pearson was monitoring all social media during the administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests—a practice that the superintendent said she found “a bit disturbing.”

“If our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal [to take tests] once this gets out,” Ms. Jewett wrote.

Pearson, in a statement, said maintaining test security is “critical to ensure fairness for all students and teachers and to ensure that the results of any assessment are trustworthy and valid.”

“When test questions or elements of a test are posted publicly to the Internet, including social media, we are obligated to alert PARCC states. Any contact with students or decisions about student consequences are handled at the local level.”

Michael Yaple, the director of public information and strategic partnerships for the New Jersey education department, said in a statement there was nothing new or unusual about the state’s practices for monitoring social media and other Internet content generated by students to protect test security.

A PARCC spokesman said in an email that using social media to share images of test questions is the “2015 equivalent of a student photocopying test items and handing them out.”

A version of this article appeared in the March 25, 2015 edition of Education Week as Pearson, PARCC Knocked for Monitoring Students’ Social Media


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment in 2021
In this Spotlight, review newest assessment scores, see how districts will catch up with their supports for disabled students, plus more.
Assessment 'Nation's Report Card' Has a New Reading Framework, After a Drawn-Out Battle Over Equity
The new framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress will guide development of the 2026 reading test.
10 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty
Assessment Opinion Q&A Collections: Assessment
Scores of educators share commentaries on the use of assessments in schools.
5 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Assessment Standardized Tests Could Be in Jeopardy in Wake of Biden Decisions, Experts Say
Has the Biden administration shored up statewide tests this year only to risk undermining long-term public backing for them?
6 min read
Image of a test sheet.
sengchoy/iStock/Getty