Security breach during Vt. NECAP testing - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Security breach during Vt. NECAP testing

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It's a high stakes test that's making headlines for all the wrong reason at BFA-St. Albans.

"It was kind of disappointing," said Caleb Raymond, a junior at BFA-St. Albans.

Vermont's Agency of Education says an 11th-grader at the school shared video of the NECAP standardized test booklet online Wednesday.

"I think it is pretty dumb that somebody would post their NECAP picture on social media," said Chandler Shover, a junior at BFA-St. Albans.

The video was captured using a cellphone and posted with a popular social media app called Vine. Students are banned from using cellphones during the NECAPS.

Vermont officials were tipped off to the breach when education officials in Rhode Island spotted the video online. The Ocean State has had similar problems and now routinely searches the web for violations.

"We all try hard all year to do good on tests and then someone just ruins it for all of us," Raymond said.

Vermont's director of educational assessment and BFA's principal, Chris Mosca, have both looked into the problem and agree there is no evidence that the violation was tied to cheating or that test results should be found unusable.

"Unfortunately in this day and age with the use of cellphones and adolescent angst that's been with us for centuries, sometimes kids make decisions that I think in retrospect they would like to take back," Mosca said.

Mosca admits there's more work to do to make sure that message resonates with his high schoolers.

In February, 17 BFA students got in trouble for using their cellphones to sext racy pictures of themselves to one another.

"One of the things that I hope students learn from this is that sometimes just what might seem like a good thing to do at the time has a significant impact, certainly through social media it lives," Mosca said.

Mosca held a meeting with the junior class Thursday to reinforce rules and his expectations come test time.

"We've got a great school and our junior class has taken this very seriously and I'm very proud of the way most of our kids, if not all of our kids, have responded," Mosca said.

Students return to the classroom for a final round of fall testing Friday, when they'll be asked to leave their electronics at the front of the class. But students say NECAPS or not, it's time to smarten up about your phones.

"Just be smart with it, don't do stupid things with it," Shover said.

Vermont's Agency of Education is reminding parents and students the state is in the process of doing away with the NECAPs. It's switching to new standardized testing in 2015 that's done on the computer, where students will be asked different questions, making it more difficult for students to potentially share information.

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