New Jersey Education Officials Looking Into Possible Standardized Test Security Breach

The New Jersey Education Department says it will do a review to make sure students' privacy is not compromised by a standardized testing firm that is monitoring social media for security breaches.

Education Department lawyer Patricia Morgan made the announcement Thursday during a legislative hearing to review the monitoring.

Test officials say it's a common practice to make sure test contents are not getting out. But it made waves last week when a New Jersey school superintendent said her district was contacted after a student tweeted something about a new standardized test being given to students in New Jersey and 11 other states this month.

Pearson, the company that administers the PARCC test, was invited to Thursday's hearing but did not send any officials. The state Education Department said its contract with Pearson calls for only the monitoring of public Internet sites. And officials said the policy requires Pearson to contact the state Education Department, which would then talk with local school districts about any possible breaches of information.

Morgan said there have been six to 12 possible incidents this year, some identified by the local districts themselves.

Still, Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan said he plans to introduce legislation that would regulate the monitoring of students' social media postings.

"I just find this to be unacceptable," Diegnan, a Democrat from South Plainfield, said at a hearing full of audience members who object to the PARCC exam for a number of reasons.

Another Assembly Democrat, Ralph Caputo, said he would like to require Pearson employees to have background checks if they will be looking at any student's private information. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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