UNC says review of Willingham’s research doesn’t support claims

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, April 14, 2014

A trio of experts hired by UNC Chapel Hill to review claims of subpar reading skills among more than 120 athletes found broad problems with whistleblower Mary Willingham’s research, the university said Friday.

The university said that its experts, hired from three universities, independently found that many of the student-athletes scored “at or above college entry level” on one test involved with Willingham’s work. The university said the experts found she had relied too heavily on that test to assign reading levels to athletes.

“(I)t appears the technical calculations reported from the initial data were inaccurate,” wrote one of the experts, Dennis Kramer, a higher education professor at the University of Virginia. “This analysis finds that less than seven percent of UNC student-athletes possessed a reading level between fourth and eighth grade.”

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