Examiners Are Vigilant on Social Media over Test Leaks Row

  • Bilal Asif
  • Apr-22-2016

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, responsible for the standardized US State tests unveiled that about 4 million  students nationwide participated in last year’s field test, out of which 75 security breaches were reported.

This year will involve social media surveillance as college student clerks and SBAC communications specialist vigorously monitor hash tags such as #smarterbalanced or #commoncore on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. The monitoring program focuses to prevent possible “security breach” during the test on social media.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Memo

Last year’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) memo instructed students to join the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of their institutions. Once students had joined the network, educators began searching students’ news feeds and photo galleries for possible leaks. The searches involved images showing the test materials, examination room details and test selfies.




Although the SBAC has softened its stance for this year but it hasn’t weakened its social media surveillance of students. In case the watchdogs spot prohibited material posted by a student on online public domains, the state education agency will be informed. State officials will then contact the institution according to disciplinary rules, in order to request the student(s) to remove test item posting.


Key Aspects of SBAC Memo

Following are the key aspects of SBAC memo:

  • This year’s (2016) strategy has evolved as a result of last year’s test breaches.
  • Washington did not follow the SBAC memo about social media monitoring during last year’s field test.
  • The respective States are silent on the matter of social media monitoring this year.
  • According to “Patrick Cummings” director of research and evaluation, the major issue is smartphones.
  • Findings indicate each year students are caught texting during state test.
  • Teachers are instructed to ensure that students have not captured a photo of test questions.


Is Social Media Monitoring A Threat To Student’s Data Privacy?

Although districts have never nullified any test due to security violations, a major concern for privacy experts and students is the legitimacy of social media monitoring programs. Despite monitoring students’ social media posting, authorities should primarily stop test violation within examination premises; as social media is a place for socializing not for data privacy surveillance.

Have a look at guidance procedures for social media monitoring during the field test below:

Guidance for social media monitering


Bilal Asif

Bilal Asif

Marketing Professional

Bilal Asif's Biography :

Once an SEO, Bilal Asif set foot in the world of Information Security after the Snowden revelations. He is now a technology evangelist and works to spread awareness about internet privacy and data security. Bilal works with influencers and industry experts to help give people the knowledge they need to make informed decisions online.