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NCAA Issues Test Score Validation Interp

The NCAA issued the following interpretation on how to handle situations where an athlete is required to retake the SAT or ACT in order to validate his or her score:

The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that if a student-athlete is required to retake the SAT or ACT following initial, full-time collegiate enrollment because the validity of the student-athlete’s qualifying test score achieved prior to enrollment is challenged, the student-athlete would be considered to have satisfied the test-score time limitation if the retest score is high enough to validate the pre-enrollment score. However, if the student-athlete’s score on the postenrollment retest is high enough to be considered a qualifying score but is not high enough to validate the pre-enrollment score, the student-athlete would not be considered to have satisfied the test-score time limitation.

That sounds very confusing, so here is a rough explanation. The NCAA has a rule which says any test score used for initial eligibility has to be from a test taken before an athlete starts schools. In some cases, the testing agency will ask a student to retake the exam in order to validate a score. This happens most often when the student has taken the test twice (or more) and gotten a much higher score the second (or later) time.

What this interp says is that the student must get a high enough score to validate the higher score, not just a high enough score to qualify, if the validation test is taken after he or she starts college. Here’s an example that explains it further.

A prospect needs an 800 on the SAT to qualify given his GPA. He takes the test twice and gets a 500 and a 1000. His 1000 is flagged and he is ordered to retake the test to validate his score, which he takes after he starts school. If he needs 900 to validate his score of 1000, but only gets an 850, he still does not qualify, even though the 850 meets the requirement on the sliding scale.

The reason goes back to the test-score time limitation. Because the score he uses has to come before he starts college, the athlete has to validate the 1000, which he earned within the time limitation. The 850 he earns on the validation test is not usable, because he earned that score after college.

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