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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 118809
Experience:  Attorney handling education matters.
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My son has an issue that may jeopardize s entire opportunity

Customer Question

My son has an issue that may jeopardize his entire opportunity to attend college and play college basketball on a full athletic scholarship. It could also jeopardize his entire future. My son is a great student and a talented athlete. He is currently a freshman at a 4 year college. He was awarded a full athletic scholarship for basketball and a partial academic scholarship. He graduated high school with a 3.0 GPA and received a composite score of 30 on his ACT test which was taken in April 2015. My son has been in school for approximately (1) one month now. On Friday, September 4, 2015 we received a letter from ACT that was dated August 28, 2015, questioning the validity of his test score due to an unusually high number of identical responses on the test as an examinee sitting next to him who had the SAME test form. The test was a "paper" exam that required "filling in the circles" with a #2 pencil and the test was ALL multiple choice. So it IS possible to have alot of the same "correct" answers. My son tested at a test center located in a different city from the city that we live in and he didn't know any of the other examinees. They had assigned sitting. The test was 3-4 hours long, so I can't imagine that two complete strangers would copy each others test answers for 3-4 hours without the test supervisor noticing any questionable behavior and excusing the person/persons. ACT has given him (3) three options to this matter. 1) He can voluntarily cancel his test score 2) He can retest, but he would have to come within 3 points of initial test score or they will cancel his test score 3) He can provide information to help establish the validity of the test score, then they would make a final decision. Even if he retests, NCAA won't take his new scores because NCAA had a deadline to submit scores. The new test score would be effective on the "new" test date. If the test score is cancelled he'll lose his scholarships and he'll have to drop out of college and he won't be able to play college basketball. Why would they wait so long to notify him about issues with the score? None of this seems logical or fair.
This entire situation seems suspect to us. A couple of weeks before my son started college, his college coach called us and told us that the school's compliance officer received an email from "Collegeboard" saying that there was an issue with his ACT test score. He asked us to call "Collegeboard" to get information on the issue. My son asked the coach to send him a copy of the email so that we could see what it said and to get contact information. There was no contact information included. So we had to googled the contact information for "Collegeboard". Once we received a representative on the line, we explained to rep the reason for contacted them. The rep told us that "Collegeboard" is for SAT testing and scores only and "Collegeboard" doesn't have anything to do with ACT or ACT test scores. ACT is a differenct entity. This raised a "red flag"!
In addition, the letter that we received from ACT said that their general policy is that only the examinee is advised of a pending formal score review and all correspondence and info with examinee is confidential. But yet, someone notified the coach about a pending score review and the date that the letter was to be delivered to my house BEFORE it actually happened. I don't understand this! My son (over 18yrs) has to sign for permission for information to be released to "ANYONE", included myself.
Any Advise?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

I am sorry to hear your son is in this situation, but you are going to need to contact ACT and provide them evidence, which was as you said above that he tested in a different city from his residence and seating was random, so he did not know anyone. Furthermore, you need to argue that unless their incorrect answers closely matched (you did not say they claimed this), it is not of any significance that their correct answers match, since they were correct answers and by that theory anyone who answered the correct answer would be suspect. However, be aware that they should have examined the incorrect answers as well seeking a pattern before they can rush to judgment. If the incorrect answers matched, then there is a good chance that if your son did not cheat that the person next to him did.

They were not to release any information to anyone but the college or your son without his written permission and if they did so, then that is an issue for which you will also need an attorney to pursue them.

Because of the issue with the NCAA at this point you would likely do best in using a local attorney to contact and deal with ACT on this matter to pursue your son's case, because there is a lot at stake with his scholarship as well. But you are going to have to start a dispute and appeal with the ACT and that is the only way to resolve this.