Pearson’s Edict on How Students MUST Use Social Media. Warning: Your Student Can be Charged With ‘Malpractice’ if they Don’t Follow Pearson Rules.

pearson policies


One of the trending hashtags/topics last night on twitter was #Pearson.  A journalist broke the story of Pearson contacting a school district to track down a student who tweeted about the PARCC test after the test was finished.  The story is that Pearson requested the student be disciplined for his/her freedom of speech about the Pearson test.  Read more here.

Diane Ravitch wrote about a reader posting Pearson’s policies on how others should use social media when presenting information about Pearson’s products.  The screenshot above shows the beginning of that policy (reprinted in full below) but I wanted to draw your attention to the privacy and cookies policy statement.  I don’t think the cookies are there to make the site work better for me, I’m thinking those cookies are on there to make it easier to track anyone who looks at its website.  Pearson’s eyes are everywhere:

How we use social media

Here you’ll find details of how we use social media such as Facebook and Twitter and the kind of response you can expect from us.

We have an active presence on social media and encourage students to use it too. It’s a great way to find information and share ideas, particularly when you’re revising for exams.

How we use social media

During the normal working day we respond to all posts from students and parents struggling to find or fully understand information on our website. Most of the posts come via our Facebook page or @EdexcelStudents mentions on Twitter.

We try to respond to, or at least acknowledge, all of these posts in the same day.

The only exception is that we don’t respond to anything that could be considered offensive. If you’re waiting for a reply to something and it’s been more than one working day, you might want to check the language you used or that the team have received your post – some of our profiles block certain words and phrases.

Outside of working hours, we may still check social media but we often won’t respond until we’re back in the office.

We also:

  • review Tweets about our brands (e.g. ‘Edexcel’ and ‘BTEC’) that don’t directly tag our profiles
  • monitor social media platforms such as Google+ and other online forums

We may not reply directly to these types of posts, but we monitor them to make sure that any of you with questions are getting the answers you need.

Monitoring activity on social media allows us to continuously improve the service we offer by keeping us up-to-date with what you’re saying about us online. In the past, this has helped us to identify problems with our website, driving improvements to our student pages.

Discussing us or our assessments online

Sharing ideas with others online can be really beneficial when you’re studying or revising. However, there are limits to the amount of information you can share, and you need to be careful not to break the rules. If you’re in doubt about what you can and can’t discuss, it’s always best to check with your teacher.

Sharing too much information with others is an example of ‘malpractice’. Other examples include:

  • copying someone else’s work or allowing your work to be copied
  • allowing others to help produce your work or helping others with theirs
  • being in possession of confidential material in advance of an exam
  • taking unauthorised items into an exam, such as a mobile phone or extra notes
  • passing on rumours of exam content
  • discussing the content of an exam before the paper has been completed in other parts of the world
  • threatening or harassing staff at an awarding organisation.

We have an obligation to investigate any case where there is the suggestion that you’ve acted improperly. If you are found to have broken the rules, you could face one of the following penalties:

  • a warning
  • the loss of marks for a section, component or unit
  • disqualification from a unit, all units or qualifications
  • a ban from sitting exams for a set period of time.

We understand that sometimes you are going to talk about us and our assessments with your friends. During stressful periods, some comments may not be very flattering. However, we’d like to ask you to act responsibly when discussing us or your exams and coursework online.

You can find additional guidance agreed by all of the major UK awarding organisations on the JCQ website:

Information for candidates documents (JCQ)

We hope you find this useful and please get in touch if you have any other questions:

Contact us

Is this  what education looks like under the direction of  a private NGO?  It sets the rules on what students can transmit, when they can transmit it and then turn to the public school where the student is enrolled and receive information from that governmental organization to discipline the student to protect the private NGO product.  The schools ‘must’ use the common core assessments (because they are too afraid of losing accreditation, money, etc) and have given up any semblance of local control and apparently will turn over a student’s private information when asked by a private corporation to do so.
Does this seem legal?  A private company is demanding that minors acquiesce to its code of conduct even  you as parents never signed on for your child to use its services.  And if you refuse the tests, in many districts, parents are threatened with court action from Division of Family Services.  It’s time to walk away yesterday from public school.

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38 Comments Already

  1. Avatar

    Don’t walk away from public schools. Stand up and fight!

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      I agree. Walking away would suit reformers down to the ground as they could then privatise public schools and the kids would still have to take the test and still have these draconian rules to contend with. STAY IN YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND FIGHT THIS RUBBISH.

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      No walk away to protect the kids. ..then fight!! Relentlessly! !

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        People keep voting for liberals, socialists and progressives. This what they get. Walking, no, running away is the only answer. They do not stop and conservatives are spineless.

  2. Avatar

    I am having a hard time seeing how kids don’t have an absolute, unqualified RIGHT to discuss these tests (in whatever forms are acceptable to their parents). The government makes the schools administer the tests, so the kids take them (unless their parents fight that battle and opt them out). But — public schools have to take all students and have no general power to force them to give up their civil rights in order to go to school there. So — the assessment company contacts the education department and the education department contacts the school and the idea is to discipline the kid ?
    This is child abuse on so many levels….if this doesn’t make the politicians put a stop to it, nothing will. The reality is I can protect my kids and probably most parents reading this can. But why should we have to give up the public schools in order to cater to these corporations ? Public schools are still funded with OUR MONEY.
    Moreover, what about poor kids ? Their parents don’t have the means to protect them from these corporations. This is why politicians must step in and put a stop to this lunacy for ALL kids.

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      I agree. What have students signed that bonds them to NOT speaking about tests after they have taken them? I realise it is an issue that tests might be taken at different times in different places, but that’s not the student’s concern and nor should it be. This “Big Brother” attitude to education is completely over the top and speaks volumes about the reformers pushing it.

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        Even if the kids did sign something, it wouldn’t matter — generally, persons under 18 are too young to make contracts. Additionally, signing something as part of something you have no say about (taking the test), would be unenforceable for that reason as well — signing under duress, or for nothing in return, is meaningless.

  3. Avatar

    I don’t think kids should cheat…so….I don’t really have a problem with Pearson’s policy. If people think kids should be sharing test questions and spitting out curse words…well…that’s just super.

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      This is not about kids cheating. It’s about being able to talk about the test afterwards. Students can talk about the tests their teachers give them afterwards — in fact, the teachers and everybody all talk about them — it’s a way to learn.
      That is, in fact, the main difference between teacher tests and standardized tests. Standardized tests accomplish nothing good, and serve only the standardized tests sellers, in their quest to separate public schools from their money.

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      So you never finished a test, walked out of the classroom and asked another student what they thought of that question about _______ ? (fill in the blank) Pearson is forbidding kids from even doing that, and using the government to enforce their policy.

      Guess you can’t blame Pearson for being a little paranoid.. One of their largest stockholders is whoever is running the Libyan government on any given day.

    • Avatar

      @Common Sense…so you are telling me that way back in the 40’s I’m guessing, that if you had your test or exam during 1st period and your friends had to take it 6th period and came up and asked you what to expect that you never told them? PLEASE tell me you didn’t, because you know what myself and everyone else reading this is going to say.
      As for the profanity, well there is never a place for that.

  4. Avatar

    So maybe the kids should “social media ” this: “Who is this Pearson guy and why does he think he’s the boss of me?”

  5. Avatar

    I was with you until the walking away from public schools comment. THAT’S the WHOLE issue… privatizing schools is NOT the answer. Eliminating CCSS, the PARCC and putting Pearson out of our education system is. Who’s side are you on?

    • Avatar

      I understand your point. I am on the side of the parents and students. I am not in favor of privatization of schools. However, when the voices of the parents/taxpayers are not heard and they are paying for the continuation of a system that does not fit their needs, IMO it is incumbent on them to collapse that system. You can’t subject your children to these policies of the NGOs year after year and have them receive an education that is not designed for learning, but rather, work development.

      If enough parents take their children out, the system will have to change. My hope is that authentic community control of the schools that the local taxpayers support will once again occur. I understand what you are saying about the possible privatization, but the first responsibility of parents is to protect their children, not the system.

  6. Avatar

    “I don’t think the cookies are there to make the site work better for me, I’m thinking those cookies are on there to make it easier to track anyone who looks at its website.”

    I suspect you do not understand how cookies work. They can only be accessed by the web site that places them on your computer. So, the only way these could be used to track your behavior is to reference an external system that has an agreement with multiple sites that you visit, like AdSense. In that case, the AdSense site would be the one tracking you, not this site.

  7. Avatar

    It looks like Pearson has given parents, who don’t want their kids to take the test, the way out. The students should talk a lot on social media about the test and get themselves a lifetime ban from sitting for the test. “Gee Mr Princpal, I’d love to take the test but Pearson has banned me.”

    • Avatar

      Love the idea..

      20,000,000 or so kids online at the same time, all discussing #Pearson tests, would under Pearson’s own rules invalidate everything. An added benefit is the load it would put of their servers. Depending on how the servers are interconnected, it could crash their website(s) and cost them a fortune in engineering costs developing defenses against similar events in the future.

  8. Avatar

    Obviously some commenting have no idea how these tests work. These tests are not the same for each child, the content adjusts depending on if the child answers the questions correctly, and as there are not really any right answers in many cases, cheating is for the most part, a moot point. The tests were not really created to benefit the children in the first place, but more to evaluate teachers and the student’s and their families personal data and assess the attitudes and values, of the students to determine if they will need “intervention”. Yes, I understand we need to fight to keep our public schools, but since the entire system is now about corporate profits and is harmful to children, I ask you, who can afford the damage being done to their child?

    • Avatar

      Your comments refer to a somewhat inaccurate version of what is called “computer adaptive”. But, PARCC is “fixed form”, so not the way you describe; SBAC is going to be “fixed form” here in Missouri (at least this year, it will be “fixed form”), so no, not a moot point — each kid will have exactly the same questions, and, if it’s like the EOC in Missouri (which our DESE suggests it will be), they’ll be the exact same questions in the exact same order. As to the “right answers”, there will be exactly one right answer — even if it’s wrong. It’s the world according to SBAC — what they say, goes — even if their answers are wrong.
      Regardless, the tests are EXACTLY THE SAME for each child (of a particular grade).

      • Avatar

        I agree the test (We are talking about Pearson and the PARCC, not the SBAC) is reportedly not adaptive. Although I am not sure I trust anything Pearson says, frankly. I DO know that there are several different versions of each test even in the same classroom. They are NOT ‘exactly the same for each child”. My daughter took the 9th grade day 1 ELA yesterday. She had to compare and contrast a translation of The Odyssey with Oddeseus. Other kids had to compare and contrast Rapunzel with Tangled. So the basic idea – compare and contrast an original work with an adaptation – was the same. The difficulty LEVEL was completely different. In fact, I wanted to ‘refuse’ my daughter, but she wanted to take it. She has now changed her mind – her sense of justice was outraged. How can they compare my score to the people who got TANGLED? she said. And it is true – the reports are relative – “This is how you scored on this portion of the test RELATIVE TO OTHERS who scored a ‘4’……So she deliberately played around with today’s essay, directing the essay to the hired-off-Craigslist-for-$12 and hr readers…..she has asked to be refused for the May administration. She has taken a fair number of standardized tests, and she says the general consensus is that this one is ‘ridiculous’.

    • Avatar

      That isn’t true. At one time the test was going to adjust depending upon the answer but that was the Smarter Balance test and not the PARCC test. The test will no longer work that way and will be simple answer the question and go to the next one test.

    • Avatar

      Either way, fixed or adaptive, the tests contain data mining and that is sold for profit. Common Core is Brainwashing 101. The school boards and the state need to throw out the fake testbooks with its #ToxicContent and social engineering of which Pearson and its Saudi investors are a part.

  9. Avatar

    Anyone who knows about international spelling or who bothered to read all the way to the end should have noticed that this is Pearson info from the UK. The laws and protections there are not the same as in the United States. What does the U.S. equivalent of this say?

    • Avatar

      Don’t know if the “US equivalent” has issued similar communications/’directives, but since we’re talking globalism, then a global company that has that mindset doesn’t really give a hoot about the well-being of children in Enid, Oklahoma in the first place. Further, any company that has that mindset anywhere in any of it’s segments, UK, Africa, US, wherever, is not about “education”, or more pointedly “learning”, in the first place. The issuance of that communication is prima facie evidence of the much bigger concern about not only the tests, but the curricula, the data gathering, the “Common Core” global mentality and everything else discussed on these pages. It is about wresting control of your children away from you and inculcating in children that their first loyalty had better be to Big Brother, in any of the guises he manifests himself. A duck that quacks in Merry Olde England would also be a duck in the Land of the Formerly Free.

  10. Avatar

    This is nonsense. The title of this post is not accurate. The social media guidelines are what Pearson, as a company, adheres to, not what they demand students do. This is also the UK policy and not the USA one. Good grief, I read the comments here about social media monitoring and cookies and you people have no idea how technology works these days so you jump to conclusions. There is no evidence that Pearson asked the NJDOE or any school to discipline a student. Period. If so, prove it. The offending tweet in question was deleted and no one is even sure, other than the student, parent and superintendent, who deleted it. EVERY SINGLE COMPANY IS MONITORING SOCIAL MEDIA ALL THE TIME. Period. Pearson held up their end of the contract with NJDOE that they will report possible testing infractions. It is up to the DOE and district to act on that info. Law enforcement, school districts themselves and any other “brand” are ALL monitoring social media. This story grew legs quickly because everyone wants the scapegoat. I hate Pearson and PARCC like many of you do, but you are not understanding what happened here, not from the tech side of things, nor the contract side of things. You want to be pissed off? Get made at NJDOE or the district for possibly acting. Or, does the district code of conduct clearly state that actions have consequences, because according to the super the incident was handled according to the code of conduct and the school tech AUP. Any of you read those docs. Nah, jump to conclusions and fire away.

    PS; Afraid of your kids being monitored by a company? Have you download any apps from major retailers like DD, 711, and others? Bet you have. Read their permissions? These apps clearly state they will collect the number of the call you are connected to. So when you install the DD app, then make a call to your underage kid on his/her cell phone, that number is transmitted to DD. Yeah, that’s right and you agreed to that as a parent of said minor. You didn’t care then…so why now? This is fake outrage.

    • Avatar

      Fake outrage? Hardly. Parents have a choice whether or not to download apps. They did not give permission for their children to be tracked and reported on by Pearson or other educational testing companies.

      Read Breslin’s article and get back to us.

    • Avatar

      “You people?” You sit here and rant at “you people” on a website that gathers information for a multitude of sources and contains commentary from not only ordinary citizens but teachers, administrators, other website purveyors and the occasional public official, and have the gall to say “you people have no idea how technology works.”
      It is YOU who choose to be ignorant of the central question here – any company professing to be a loving purveyor of educational materials and educational tools for the benefit of our children who would deign to act like Big Brother is the one who is “fake”. And the outrage by the people commenting here is NOT fake, because they are sentient enough to recognize what is going on.
      Your statement that you “hate Pearson and PARCC” is what is suspect in these commentaries, because you appear to be a stalwart defender, in that “they are just doing what companies do”. If you hate them, what do you hate them FOR? Here’s what I LIKE about what they did: They went public with a prima facie piece of evidence of how they are in bed with the CC, SBAC, DOE, Gates/Duncan/Coleman/Hammond,etc cabal and the socialist progressive movement to remove local and parental control over our children. And if you think the outrage over Pearson’s frank admission is fake, well you’re going to start seeing a lot more of it all over the land by people using all kinds of technology you claim they don’t understand.

    • Avatar

      Just because I agree to sleep with one person doesn’t mean it is OK to assume you get to sleep with me too. Maybe I did give permission to whatever those apps are that you mentioned (I don’t really have them, but lets just say I do) That doesn’t mean I have permanently abdicated my right to decide who does and does not have permission to access my child’s information.

  11. Avatar

    Did anyone else notice the “sharing too much information” is “malpractice” and other examples are ……… What do they mean by sharing too much information? Note the “Other examples include:” This is where the cheating part comes in and makes it sound legit. But I have to ask again ….. what does sharing too much information mean since it is separate from the examples listed.

    Sharing too much information with others is an example of ‘malpractice’. Other examples include:

    copying someone else’s work or allowing your work to be copied
    allowing others to help produce your work or helping others with theirs
    discussing the content of an exam before the paper has been completed in other parts of the world

    • Avatar

      …not to mention that the ACTUAL definition of ‘malpractice’ is a breach of a PROFESSIONAL code of conduct or standard of care.

      Is Pearson trying to assert that our children are….PROFESSIONAL test-takers? Or…are they just throwing scary words around to intimidate children who don’t know any better?

      Either way, Pearson is not using ‘relevant words in context’. It is mis-using the word.

  12. Avatar

    public schools have been tainted for years
    this is what happens when people buy into the propaganda instead of using there heads

  13. Avatar

    Good luck enforcing questionable contract against a minor here in the United States. My 4th grader is taking the test, if he comes home and tells me all about the test and I post it on FB, what are they going to do? We should start a social media campaign that swamps them with misleading information.

    • Avatar

      And this is where all the public schools and the educational tools providers who thought it was just so cool to go digital and have all the kids use I-pads and computers and have all this on-line goop instead of classroom instruction have shot themselves in the foot. Yes, they can play the big, bad sheriff, but the peeps have the tools to reflect the light right back at them. It’s the lawmakers who need to educate themselves about what is going on.

    • Avatar

      Great idea — no one is going to be able to argue that kids don’t have the right to tell their own parents….and parents owe the Pearson corp. exactly nothing….

      How about it, everybody ?

  14. Avatar

    How ironic that Pearson is so concerned over “sharing information” – their test information – yet they have absolutely no concern about how our kids information will be shared after it has been gathered during their asinine test!!

  15. Avatar

    This is total bullshit. They can’t do a thing to the kids. I’m going to ask my kid what the passages were about and the essay topic and tweet it all over. What are they going to do? Give me a break.

  16. Avatar

    I’m absolutely loving the 4th consequence! Please, BAN my children from sitting for exams 🙂

  17. Avatar

    Bottom line is this…


    Here in Indiana, an INDIANA STATE OF EDUCATION BOARD MEMBER asked to take the 6th grade ISTEP test.


    What was the reasoning?
    “Security issues”.

    Are you fricking kidding me???
    A board member???
    Just what is Pearson hiding???

    Another point to be made…

    Private schools that accept money from the government through vouchers are forced to testing as well. Privatization is NOT the answer either.



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