THE first time Brian Dalton took the college entrance exam in 1991, he was ill and scored a dismal 620 - almost 300 points below the national average. Six months later, he retook the test and scored 1,030 out of a possible 1,600.
The administrator of the Scholastic Assessment Test - used by most US colleges as a standard for acceptance - called the improvement suspicious and refused to release the higher score to colleges.
Mr. Dalton, who went on to college using the lower score, sued for $1.35 million and won in two lower courts. The Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J., which gives the test, appealed and takes the case to New York's highest court today.
In the SAT's strongest challenge yet, Dalton argues he didn't get into the colleges of his choice because the higher score was not released.
The ETS, which has never ultimately lost a case when it suspects fraud, argues that it must be given the right to disallow questionable results like Dalton's to protect the integrity of a test given to some 2.4 million US high school students each year.