Education Publisher Monitoring Students’ Social Media Activity

Education Publisher Monitoring Students’ Social Media Activity
Suada Kolovic

The average high school student can easily spend the better part of his or her day on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram...where one more post quickly turns into another sleepless night. Hey, we've all been in stuck in that inescapable web before (no one's judging!) but what if your private thoughts turned out to be not so private?

Pearson, the world's largest education company which recently crafted the standardized tests for the Common Core curriculum, has been monitoring social media accounts to detect any security breaches during exams. News of this monitoring was revealed in a message that Superintendent Elizabeth C. Jewett of Watchung Hills Regional High School District in New Jersey sent to colleagues about a disturbing incident: An unnamed student posted a tweet referring to the PARCC exam after school hours, Pearson officials then contacted the school district to discipline the student for having said something inappropriate about the tests. She also said the child’s parents were concerned about the monitoring and confirmed that the publisher was monitoring student activity on the web. (The incident was first reported on the blog of former Star-Ledger reporter, education editor and senior columnist Bob Braun, who called the monitoring nothing less than “spying.”)

In response, officials at Pearson did not explain how they are monitoring student activity but it is believed that they are conducting keyword searches for any mention of the PARCC tests on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The company has acknowledged the monitoring, saying, "We believe that a secure test maintains fairness for every student and the validity and integrity of the test results." (For more on this story, head over to The Washington Post.)

What do you think of the latest breach of student privacy? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don't forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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