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Untag that photo: Pictures of standardized tests appearing on social media sites

scantron standardized test

timlewisnm/Flickr Creative Commons

State education officials are worried about the hundreds of photos of standardized tests – sometimes with answers – that have begun to appear on social networking sites.

Before you know it, you may start seeing tagged photos of standardized tests on Facebook.

The Los Angeles Times reports that "hundreds" of photos of standardized tests have begun to appear on social networking sites in California. This, of course, has raised concerns about breaches of security and subsequent cheating by students.

Officials have found more than 100 students to be involved – so far – but did say those students weren't necessarily cheating. Some photos were of students holding closed exam booklets, or blank answer documents, or answer documents with material unrelated to the tests written on them.

But some images did contain questions or answers, said the state's Department of Education in a statement, something which could potentially result in invalidated test scores for entire schools – or even prevent the state from using certain tests. 

And even those seemingly harmless photos of closed booklets or empty answer documents mean those students had no problem taking their phone out during a test. That's also a problem, because any student with a smartphone can easily Google the answer to a question that's got him or her stumped, especially if a proctor isn't that vigilant.

For now, according to the Times, officials have simply warned school districts to heighten security, look into any breaches and make sure it doesn't happen in their district.

L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy told the Times he doesn't know yet if students from his district are involved, but said it "could compromise this year's assessments" if they were.

Schools have reached out to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and Webstagram to ask webmasters to remove these kinds of images.


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