Four CVHS students were caught posting pictures of the STAR test on the web site instagram.com. Among the photos was a picture of the cover of an answer document and a scantron with a bubble design.
The Department of Education detected two of the students and notified CVHS. While students were busy stressing about the AP and STAR tests, district officials were sent in to investigate and interview the students involved. In addition, the school had to fill in an incident report, for which it is still awaiting a response.
“We are waiting to hear back. This could be serious enough for all the scores in that room, grade, or school to be invalidated,” said Assistant Principal Matthew Steinecke.
The other two who photographed the test were reported by other CVHS students, Steinecke said.
As punishment, the students were given a one day in-school suspension.
The California Department of Education has people who monitor social media sites and look for things like this.
This has not happened in the past at CVHS. However, it is happening all over the country as electronics are becoming more advanced, more easy to use, and more common.
“Unfortunately, students post without thinking of repercussions,” said Steinecke.
Some students think that STAR testing is not important because it will not affect their grades. However, it does affect them eventually. When students apply for colleges, the colleges look at how well schools do in comparison to other schools to determine how challenging the schools are (for example, how hard it is to earn an A).
Richard Schneck, a science teacher, agrees that the STAR test is important.
“The State of California spends a lot of money to preserve the integrity of these tests and students that take pictures compromise that integrity. CVHS doesn’t need the bad reputation,” Schneck said.
Schneck makes sure his students put effort into the STAR test by promising to bump up their grade (a C to an B, for example) if they do well and get at least 90% on the science part of the STAR test.
“It’s a win-win,” he said. “Other schools put the scores on transcripts.”
Since this serious incident is comparable to cheating on the SAT and AP tests, a stricter policy will be enforced and teachers will be extra vigilant next year, Steinecke said.