At least that’s what thousands of Australian students found out this week while taking a standardized test, all thanks to a little careless Google Image searching.
The Russian Revolution (that is, the one in 1917, not the Revolution of 1905, which also took place in Russia) was the subject of the test question and naturally was accompanied by the above thematically appropriate image. As any student of world history knows, highly advanced mecha warriors played a pivotal role in the victory over the Tsarist regime.
Wait, I mean “as any student of world history knows, highly advanced mecha warriors played absolutely no role in the victory over the Tsarist regime.”
The above picture is a photoshopped version of the painting Storming the Winter Palace on 25th October 1917, by contemporary artist Nikolai Kochergin. Unfortunately, the photoshopped version is the first Google image result that appears when you search for Storming the Winter Palace, and it made it into the twelfth-year VCE exam.
A spokesperson for the VCE’s testing authority said that they were aware that the picture “came from the internet,” and said that they’re going to make sure that it’s presence did not invalidate this round of testing.
The image has been altered but the alteration of the image won’t impact on the students’ capacity to answer the examination question. The VCAA will monitor students’ answers to ensure that any student who has been distracted by the image will not be disadvantaged.
So there you have it, Australian kids. If you wrote your answer about giant robots, you’re fine. But if you just got it wrong, then you’ve got a problem. Last year the same testing authority got itself into some hot water for using the pictures of an actual person’s tattoos without credit or acknowledgement. Seems like creating some new standards for sourced pictures for the exam materials might be in order.