Pearson is accused of spying on students during PARCC tests...'The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during the PARCC testing'....

On MARCH 13, 2015, a New Jersey blogger named Bob Braun published an explosive expose charging that Pearson, the corporation that has long produced most of the controversial "standardized" tests used across the USA for high stakes testing, was spying on children's social media activities during the PARCC testing that began this week. The article form Braun follows, but reports on early March 14 are saying that someone has hacked Braun's blog and eliminated the link below. We are publishing it here at as part of the critique we have been publishing on Pearson's shoddy work since the expose by Jerry Bracey of the Pearson Minnesota graduation tests ten years ago.

Of all corporations producing testing materials, Pearson, which produces and sells the PARCC tests and hopes to deploy all tests on computers for greater profit, has been the most profitable.BREAKING: Pearson, NJ, spying on social media of students taking PARCC tests

BLOGPEARSON” Pearson, the multinational testing and publishing company, is spying on the social media posts of students–including those from New Jersey–while the children are taking their PARCC, statewide tests, this site has learned exclusively. The state education department is cooperating with this spying and has asked at least one school district to discipline students who may have said something inappropriate about the tests. This website discovered the unauthorized and hidden spying thanks to educators who informed it of the practice–a practice happening throughout the state and apparently throughout the country. The spying–or “monitoring,” to use Pearson’s word–was confirmed at one school district–the Watchung Hills Regional High School district in Warren by its superintendent, Elizabeth Jewett.

The PARCC tests are being given in 18 states and the District of Columbia this school year, as part of the Common Core corporate "education reform" movement. The above map, published in Education Week, shows the states using each of the assessment thingies, and those states which have dropped out of this part of the so-called Common Core.Jewett sent out an e-mail–posted here– to her colleagues expressing concern about the unauthorized spying on students. She said parents are upset and added that she thought Pearson’s behavior would contribute to the growing “opt out” movement.

In her email, Jewett said the district’s testing coordinator received a late night call from the state education department saying that Pearson had “initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school.”

The unnamed state education department employee contended a student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. But it turned out the student had posted–at 3:18 pm, after testing was over–a tweet about one of the items with no picture. Jewett does not say the student revealed a question. Jewett continues:

“The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent–who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE (state education department).

“The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during the PARCC testing.”

Jewett continued: I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing–and if our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal once this gets out.”

The school superintendent also expressed concern about “the fact that the DOE wanted us to also issue discipline to the student.”

I contacted Jewett by email. By that time she had discovered three instances in which Pearson notified the state education department of the results of its spying. In her email to me, Jewett was vague about the role of Pearson and the education department. She wrote:

“In reference to the issue of PARCC infractions and DOE/Pearson monitoring social media, we have had three incidents over the past week. All situations have been dealt with in accordance with our Watchung Hills Regional High School code of conduct and academic integrity policy. Watchung Hills Regional High School is a relatively small district and a close-knit community; therefore, I am very concerned that whatever details your sources are providing may cause unnecessary labeling and hardship to students who are learning the consequences of their behavior.”

Jewett acted professionally, I believe, but I must point out the irony of her lecturing me about protecting the identity of students when she has just dealt with an inexcusable breach of privacy involving minors. I made it clear to her I have no intention of revealing names of students–but I would be more than happy to speak with their parents.

The state education department official identified as the person cooperating with Pearson is Veronica Orsi, who is in charge of assessment for grades 9-12 in the department. She refused to answer this website’s questions about her involvement.

Neither the state education department nor Pearson’s would respond to my emails on the company’s spying on students.

New Jersey is paying $108 million to run its PARCC testing program, an enterprise that has engendered opposition throughout New Jersey–and that was before the spying was revealed.

State Education Commissioner David Hespe spent hours testifying before the Legislature’s Senate Education Committee Thursday and did not once mention the possibility that the London-based Pearson would be “monitoring” the social media accounts of students taking the test. Jewett’s email, however, indicated the department–presumably including Hespe–were well aware of the practice.

A few days before, state education department officials–including Orsi–held a background briefing for some media–Bob Braun’s Ledger was not invited–and none of the mainstream media accounts of the session revealed the Pearson spying program.


An enlargement of the note above from Superintendent Jewett can be found at


March 14, 2015 at 11:09 AM

By: Neal Resnikoff

Test makers monitor social media

I just received a message from a correspondent saying that generally students' social media is monitored by test-makers and that this has been a standard warning to students taking the College Board AP exams for years: forbidden to talk about the test questions in any way (ever) for all multiple choice questions, except for previously released exams. Essay questions can be discussed after two days.

November 30, 2016 at 1:34 PM

By: Mary Olsen

Student privacy and parental notification

Are you aware if the webcam is on while students take the PARCC test?

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