PUSD: STAR testing 'security breach' more prank than cheating attempt | August 16, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 16, 2013

PUSD: STAR testing 'security breach' more prank than cheating attempt

District may require students to turn in cellphones for next year's test

by Glenn Wohltmann

The Pleasanton school district is one of more than 200 districts statewide to have a security breach in STAR testing earlier this year.

While many of those security breaches were serious -- in several cases, for example, students took photos of the test questions -- the breach at Amador Valley High seemed to be more of a prank.

In all, 242 schools around the state had security breaches, according to Nicole Steward, the district's technology coordinator. Steward said the local breach was a minor one.

"A student took a picture of another taking the test," she said. It was considered a breach because it showed the test. She said the state "reviewed it and said there was no cheating related to it."

The district reported the breach to the California Department of Education, and Steward said she investigated it after it came to light when a student told a teacher and the teacher reported it to district administrators.

"The student was asked to remove the picture from their phone and from social media," she said. "We have to remember that students post everything onto their social media. To them, it's not a big thing."

Steward said other students posted pictures or words they made from filling in the dots on the cover or the test.

She said proctors are trained every year on test security.

"They also post signs during testing that says no electronics," Steward said, adding that teachers have decided on their own whether to allow students to keep their cellphones or to turn them in before a test.

"This year we'll probably be a little more strict with security, and we'll probably make sure that every teacher collects phones at the very beginning of the test period," she said.

Last year STAR test results were withheld by the state for two weeks because of similar security breaches.


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