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Social Media Can Make Standardized Test Questions Go Viral

Illustration for article titled Social Media Can Make Standardized Test Questions Go Viral

When standardized tests are shared nationwide—as they now are, under the Common Core system that's been adopted in 46 states—cheating suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Especially since teenagers now share just about everything on social media.

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As we're all aware, platforms like Twitter and Instagram have a way of making illicit activities go viral. According to Quartz, the testing company Pearson has reported 76 instances of students sharing standardized test questions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter since February.

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Of course, we've probably been guilty of cheating on tests since test taking-first began. But this year is special, marking the first time that a large number of states began taking identical Common Core tests. Many schools are forced spread the computer-based testing out over multiple days to accommodate all of their students. These two circumstances, coupled with a smartphone-armed teenager, may create the perfect storm of conditions for cheating to get out of hand.

Right now, testing companies are playing a game of whack-a-mole, monitoring leaked information as best they can and ratting cheaters out to their schools, which are responsible for taking disciplinary action. If this sounds a bit sketchy to you, you're not alone. We're already seeing backlash from parents and some school authorities who are concerned about the obvious privacy implications of testing companies monitoring kids' Instagram accounts.

It's not yet clear whether, or how, tech-enhanced cheating will affect test results nationwide. But if there's one inescapable truth here, it's that social media's pervasive influence can no longer be ignored in the classroom. [Quartz]

Top image via Shutterstock


Contact the author at maddie.stone@gizmodo.com or follow her on Twitter.

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DISCUSSION

4thdeskonright
4thdeskonright

Kids have been finishing the test in record time and have told teachers that they just don't care. They have absolutely no incentive to do well. It doesn't go on their transcripts, they don't get money for it, they don't get time off, they don't get to graduate early, they don't get college credit, and they lose class time. The kids don't care enough about this poorly designed test to share the questions widespread. The anecdotal feedback I've gotten from students is that students approached the test with extreme apathy.

Personally, as a teacher who only teaches AP, I find it ludicrous that 30% of my pay will be based on the achievement of 1/4th of the students in the school, most of which I don't ever teach, show in the time in between 75% and 90% of the year.

I'm going into a rage cycle now so I am going to go have a pudding.