Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Maryland students teach teachers

The Washington Post reports that a group of students at Potomac high school stole teachers passwords and were changing their grades for several months  before they were caught.

They used keylogging software to capture the passwords, then logged on to the teachers computers and change grades. Because of the computer system and the way it was accessed there is no way to discover who changed the grades. Instead of punishing all the students whose grades were changed (some may have been red herrings), the school is just changing them back to the original grades.

The tools the students used to log passwords is easily and  cheaply available online. To prevent this kind of problem students need to be locked out of adding software and of mounting or running .exe files from USB drives - in fact, flash drives, or any USB drive shouldn't mount from teacher or student accounts. If schools don't take these kinds of steps we eventually won't be able to trust our schools to truly teach our kids the things they need to grow - up, or to trust anything they tell us about how well the students are doing their learning.