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Long Beach Unified disciplines student who posted test contents

August 3, 2012 |  8:31 am

School officials in Long Beach said they have identified and disciplined the student who posted online a picture of a test item from the state standardized tests given in the spring.

The student, a girl, was a 10th-grader at Millikan High School. She posted an image of a geometry test item, Long Beach Unified confirmed this week. State officials blamed the posting of such photos on social networking sites for causing a two-week delay in the release of test scores statewide.

The state said it had to call in experts to make sure that test results remained valid. Scores are due to be made public at the end of August.

Students are prohibited from having cellphones and other picture-taking devices while taking the state tests, which are typically given in April and May.

"Our school district provides training to test coordinators at our schools, including information on making sure that students' cellphones are turned off and put away during state testing," said Long Beach Unified spokesman Chris Eftychiou. "The state is now reviewing its protocols on this aspect of test security, so we'll be monitoring any changes."

In all, California students posted pictures of 36 test items on social-networking sites, such as Facebook. The state identified one middle school and 11 high schools where one or more students took the pictures. Other photos of such items as test-booklet covers or blank answer sheets also made it to the Internet — a total of 442 images that were traced to 147 schools in 94 school systems.

In the worst-case scenario, a school's score on the state's Academic Performance Index could be at risk as a result of the leaks, leading to possible loss of some funding or other sanctions.

In Long Beach, officials said they've decided on the level of discipline they consider appropriate for the 10th-grader, but declined to release further details.

"About 18,000 high school students took these tests in our school district this year, and this was the only breach reported here, but we take it seriously," Eftychiou said. "We're firmly committed to protecting the integrity and fairness of the testing process."

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-- Howard Blume

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