April 27, 2012
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Issues Testing Security Reminder
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson advised superintendents and testing coordinators statewide today to abide by assessment security protocols after images of testing materials were found posted on social networking Web sites.
While most of the images discovered so far contained only students posing with a closed test booklet, blank answer documents or answer documents with a message written on them, in some instances the images appeared to contain test questions or completed answer documents from current Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR) or California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) tests.
At Torlakson's request, the California Department of Education (CDE) has asked Web site operators to remove the postings, which were discovered on a number of social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and Webstagram.
"Students throughout California have worked hard to prepare for these examinations, and it's vital to maintain the integrity of the testing process," Torlakson said. "I'm confident that if schools and examiners follow established procedures, these materials will remain secure so the results remain valid and reliable."
Once alerted to the postings, Torlakson directed CDE staff to remind school administrators and examiners to follow protocols designed to protect the security and integrity of testing materials. Testing procedures bar students from having access to cell phones or other electronic devices during testing periods, with the exception of some students with special needs, who may use them only under close supervision.
CDE staff is working to identify the students and schools involved, and have advised affected districts to begin their own inquiries into how and why the images were allowed to be posted.
The Department also has advised ETS, the state's testing contractor that is reviewing the images, to determine the extent to which any particular examination may have been compromised.
Schools across the state currently are administering both the STAR and CAHSEE examinations. STAR tests are given each spring to students in grades two through eleven, and include examinations in math, reading, writing, science, and history.
Passage of the CAHSEE is required of high school students to earn a high school diploma in California. Students first take this test in grade ten. Students who do not pass the initial test have additional opportunities to take it during their high school careers.