Guidance from MSDE about PARCC test security

Under no circumstances should photographs be taken of test items, whether on a computer screen or on paper. If it is found that anyone has taken a photo of test material, please ensure that any photographs are destroyed immediately and submit a Testing Incident Report Form to the State Test Security Officer.

The statement below is issued by the State Test Administration and Security Committee as a reminder of the security of PARCC test items:

In accordance with COMAR 13A.03.04, assessment materials are confidential. Test materials, including items and other documents that are labeled as secure, are confidential and must be kept secure at all times. Unauthorized access, use, transportation, duplication, or reproduction of any portion of assessment materials is prohibited. Making notes about, making answer keys for, writing about, or discussing with persons not involved in the test administration, the content of the actual test or any part thereof, including reading passages, is prohibited. No one may provide any part of the test materials for examination or other use by any other party, nor disseminate any of the test materials to any other party. No one may discuss the topics and/or specific content of the test materials with any other party. It is a violation to video or photograph any test content.

Further, some locals have requested guidance on confiscating technological devices if they believe the device contains test materials/content. Confiscating and viewing the contents of a cell phone would most likely be considered a “search” under the law. Maryland Code, §7-308 of the Education Article sets out guidelines for searches of students. Subsection (a) allows for a principal, assistant principal, or school security guard to make a “reasonable search” of a student if the searcher has a “reasonable belief” that the student has in his or her possession an item that, if possessed, would (1) result in criminal charges or (2) violate state law or a local school board rule/regulation. Taking photos of test items or receiving or sending texts related to test content would likely violate item #2.

COMAR 13A.08.01.14 contains essentially the same provisions that are found at 7-308, but it adds that searches should be conducted in a manner that will “minimize disruption of the normal school routine and minimize embarrassment to students affected.”

LEAs may create additional rules and regulations governing student searches so long as they are in compliance with state law and regulations.