You Can’t Have It Both Ways

These are great words of advice from my father that seem appropriate to lead into this topic.

Social media was beside itself over the revelation that Pearson had monitored Twitter messages about its PARCC Testing.  (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers)  Confession – I had to do some research to understand just what PARCC is.

I think, like many people, I ended up on this blog post “BREAKING: Pearson, NJ, spying on social media of students taking PARCC tests“.  But that certainly wasn’t the only place to read the details.  The list goes on and on.

There was outrage directed at Pearson, the state education authority, school district, and the list goes on.  Read the story to get the details from that author’s perspective.

Let’s step aside from this for a moment and revisit this from a few years ago.

This video spawned all kinds of additional media.

According to the count, the original video has been viewed over 14 million times.  It’s spawned a book, a speaking job, additional videos…

You can believe that it certainly caught the attention of United Airlines.

We live in a time when people are not shy with taking their frustrations online to social media.  It’s one quick and effective way to get your message out and discover those who have similar opinions.  So, it’s not out of the ordinary to think that a student would use this as an outlet for whatever reason.  (The original post was taken down)  I don’t think that it’s equally out of the ordinary for Pearson to monitor the conversations around its business. 

So here’s where it gets interesting.  Social media is fine for taking on an airline but not for taking on educational testing?

Can you have it both ways?  If so, then someone needs to define the line between what’s right and what’s wrong.  That’s certainly not a decision that I would want to make.  How could you ever win?

If there’s something good to come from this, let me offer this.  We often hear the wisdom that if the answer to a question is “Google-able”, it’s not a good question.  Could we extend that to indicate that if, “a student Twitter message causes a whole system to crumble because of suspected cheating”, that it’s not a good test?

Is there a better alternative – like relying on the professionalism of teachers to teach the curriculum?

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2 thoughts on “You Can’t Have It Both Ways

  1. Thanks, Doug — wondered if there was enough being said about what really needed to be examined and addressed. It’s like the article going around now about parents in India climbing schools walls to help their kids cheat on exams. Easier to poke fun at the parents than try to understand what the pressures are really about and what their reality really is?

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