Although no Central Valley schools will face severe penalties, more than a dozen were flagged for minor breaches.
Clovis Unified self-reported to the state, once staff realized three students violated security. Even though the violations were not major, they are enough to penalize three schools from receiving a top award this year.
One high school student at Clovis North, another at Clovis East, and an Alta Sierra Intermediate School student are among dozens of mainly teenagers who pulled out a phone during the STAR test and snapped a forbidden photo.
"Kids taking pictures of the cover of a test that was all blurry, another took a picture of a Scantron he had graffitied, and another kid looked like took a picture of a Starbucks with a Scantron next to it," Clovis Unified Associate Superintendent of Leadership Carlo Prandini said.
A spokesperson with the California Department of education says the schools flagged for violating "test taking" rules will suffer a penalty that will make their entire campus no longer eligible this year to get a top honor.
"The only consequence is they would be ineligible to apply for what we call our distinguished school award which is a recognition process for high achieving schools," said Deborah Sigman from the California Department of Education.
According to the state, these infractions did not affect the credibility of the test. Prandini says policing the 30,000 students who take the test has challenges and phones and social media have definitely created even more security concerns.
"The old days you'd pass notes, so you had sheets. Now they can take a picture of the tests and pass it on to the next period. So teachers have to be very mindful of and moving around because it isn't that easy to do but texting, they can do that in their pocket right now," Prandini said.
State representatives say schools flagged have either self-reported or become aware through state staff surfing the internet looking for security issues.
Clovis Unified says the three students who violated rules were punished for their behavior. Although Clovis Unified had the most flagging's in the Central Valley, several other school districts also made the infraction list.