Three “irregularities” were reported when Fayette County Schools students took their WESTEST assessment last week, according to the Fayette County Board of Education. None of the incidents involved cheating per se, but rather posting pictures of test materials on Facebook.

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDOE) which monitors social media sites for such posts, alerted school principals in two of the cases. In the third case, an examiner discovered the incident first.

Two students at separate schools bubbled in their answer sheets to depict the letters “YOLO,” which stands for “You Only Live Once,” according to Fayette County Schools Director of Assessment Jean Cavalier.

The students then took pictures of their answer sheets with their cell phones and posted them to Facebook. Afterwards, they erased the markings and took the test as usual.

Students are prohibited from taking cell phones and certain other electronic devices into the WESTEST.

Cavalier says since the situation was duplicated at two schools, it may have been a “flash mob” situation among the teen population.

“They are so well-connected,” she says.

In the third case, a student took a picture of the cover of the WESTEST and posted the picture with a status update roughly stating that the student was glad the test would soon be over.

An anonymous tip to the state department alerted them to the post.

The incidents took place at Fayetteville High School, Midland Trail High School, and Oak Hill High School.

Cavalier says the state contacted all counties on the first day of testing to alert them that there was some evidence that students were posting copies of the test to Facebook.

None of the incidents resulted in invalidations of the test, but the students involved are facing possible disciplinary action by their principals.

“Other than that, we’ve had a very smooth assessment period,” says Cavalier.

She did not have any more information on how the WVDOE monitors social media sites, and a call to the department was not returned.

— E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com

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