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Friday, Feb. 22nd 2019


Academic appeals may be justified in cases involving the refusal of a testing service to validate SAT or other standardized test results.

Students in higher education assume that if they achieve a passing score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or other national educational aptitude or competency test, that they will receive a report validating their score for use on a college, graduate school or professional school application or for professional licensing. Many professions, such as nursing, medicine, law, engineering etc. have national “board exams” administered by either a professional board or private testing service.

Media Attention
Recently in the national news, there has been a story of a student who took the SAT and then prepared diligently to retake the exam, hoping to get a better score. She improved her score dramatically yet The College Board, which administers the SAT, refused to validate her score, claiming it improved “too much” to be credible and reliable. Late last year I filed suit against The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners on behalf of a student whose scores on two of their standardized tests were withheld from her due to alleged “inability to validate her scores, even though she was not accused of cheating.

Limited Options
Standardized tests are not a competitive industry. For most services Americans need, we have a wide range of choices to obtain car repair, carpet cleaning, a new roof or any one of hundreds of services. In educational testing for college entrance, graduate and professional school entrance and for licensing in most professions, there is no competition. Only one source is available to administer a student’s required test for becoming a nurse, a doctor, a chiropractor, etc. There is only one company administering the SAT exam. These are not governmental agencies and therefore a student denied the receipt of a validated score, has no due process remedy to complain. Often academic appeals are the only remedy – filing suit to claim a breach of contract or consumer fraud. 

Burden of Proof
In academic appeals cases, testing services that claim a reason for refusal to validate a score have the burden of proving that their decision was correct. Experts in testing methodology and testing analysis are available to assist our law firm in academic appeals, offering expert opinion that a refusal to validate a test score can be scientifically unsupportable.

If you have experienced a refusal to have a standardized test score validated, contact Mr. Cohen for a free initial consultation and more information about your options with academic appeals.

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