Dalton v. Educational Testing Service

663 N.E.2d 289 (1995)


In May 1991, Dalton (P) took the SAT. P then took it again in November and his combined score increased by 410 points. Because the score increased by over 350 points, P’s results fell within the statistical ambit of scrutiny by Educational Testing Service (D). The examiners found disparate handwriting, and they submitted the samples to a handwriting expert who opined that they were completely different people. The Board of Review determined that there was substantial evidence to support cancellation of his November score. When P took the exam, he signed a statement agreeing to the conditions of D that it had a right to cancel scores if it believed there was reason to question the score’s validity. D notified P of its intent to cancel and as per the contract terms (listed on first paragraph page 606 Farnsworth 6th, 550 Re 5th) and gave P a summary of the evidence and allowed P to submit additional evidence. P gave information that he suffered from sickness in the first exam, submitted prep course results for the November exam that were consistent with those results and a statement from D’s proctor who remembered his presence in November and statements from two students as well and a report from a document examiner that concluded that P was the author of both answer sheets. D analyzed the information and merely resubmitted the handwriting to a second expert who concluded the same as their first expert. D stood its ground and P’s father sued to prevent D from canceling the November score. The trial judge found that D failed to even make a rudimentary effort to evaluate or investigate information furnished by P. The judge ruled that D failed to act in good faith as required under the contract and ordered the score to be released. The Appellate Division affirmed.