The selection of career paths among the applicants is a crucial part of the application process. Ensuring the compatibility of the applicant’s skills and knowledge with the field of expertise they attempt to explore is an important step to consider in accepting enrollees for a particular program. The GRE provides well-researched and objective information about applicants from different backgrounds. Institutions use standardized test scores as a guide in the decision-making process to come up with a fair evaluation. It helps create an intensive community in an area of knowledge as it measures the suitability and readiness of the applicant to their chosen program that they intend to become a part of as well as the likelihood of their success in their chosen career path. Prospective students submit their score percentile to prove that they have adequate knowledge and skills needed for graduate-level work.
Not at all. Some programs do not require or value GRE scores as much as other aspects of the graduate admissions process. However, taking the test is a recommended course of action if an applicant intends to pursue a master’s degree, a doctoral degree, or enroll in a business school. Most graduate schools and business schools include GRE scores in the criteria for the admissions process because they provide a quantifiable measurement of the applicant’s skills, knowledge, and attributes, which can be conveniently compared to the results of other examinees. Thus, applicants who aim to advance their education should consider taking the standardized admissions tests.
Not at all. Although high GRE scores are strongly correlated with graduate school success, some reports contradict this claim. It is known that the GRE is a common factor in criteria for admission. According to Victoria Clinton’s article “The Problem with the GRE,” published in The Atlantic, the standardized test failed to measure creativity, perseverance, and other factors that contribute to a person’s success in their future career path. The scope of its prediction only lasts for the first year of graduate school, making it an insufficient indicator of graduate school success. GRE scores can only theoretically predict the critical thinking skills, verbal skills, comprehension skills, and analytical skills of graduate students, but they don’t necessarily guarantee the completion of their endeavor. (3)
The GRE predicts success in graduate-level programs by determining the level of preparedness of the applicants and the compatibility of their skills, knowledge, communication skills, and attributes to their chosen field of expertise. Thriving in an academic environment that is designed to equip the students with theoretical and practical knowledge for a particular career is a conducive effort that highly motivates improvement. Thus, the Admissions Committee uses this tool as one of the qualification measurements in the admission process. Studies have concluded there is a significant correlation between high GRE scores and high graduate GPAs. GRE scores are also correlated with graduate school completion rates. These findings are the implication of the effort of the applicants to strengthen their skill sets, which is necessary to survive graduate school. This skill set includes verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Graduate schools may demand a professional ability to absorb and build on knowledge from the students. It means that being able to hone the mentioned skills during preparation for the test may increase their likelihood of producing desirable results from their performance. (4)
The usage of GRE scores has the following guidelines:
- The use of multiple sources of information when making decisions. As this standardized test aims to become inclusive and indiscriminate toward its examinees, it avoided any single measurement of skills, knowledge, and attributes to cater to applicants from different backgrounds. It ensures the fairness of the evaluation process.
- Educational Testing Service considers verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing scores as three separate and independent measures. This test acknowledged the fact that different programs required different skill requirements, thus, results are used in accordance with the necessities of the applicant.
- GRE scores should be interpreted with caution since, like other tests, they are not exact indicators. The third guideline emphasizes the careful interpretation of GRE scores. GRE scores are not exact measures because test takers may display inconsistent performance, hence Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) for individual scores are used to provide an account for measurement error.
- Be aware of score differences when evaluating applicants. Even if test takers have significantly different abilities, their discrepancies in results may not reflect this. Measurement inaccuracy is outlined in guideline #3 above. It is essential that the decision-maker must determine the differences between the two scores.
- When comparing candidates, use the correct percentile ranks. Percentile ranks can reveal additional information about an individual’s performance in comparison to the performance of other people who took the same test during the same time period (called the reference group). Percentile ranks show the percentage of test-takers in a reference group who received scores that were lower than a specified score on a given question. A percentile rank of 70%, for example, indicates that the test taker outperformed 70% of the other test takers in the reference group on the test.
- Subject test scores and percentile ranks should only be compared to other subject test scores and percentile ranks. Only scores from the same subject test should be compared because each subject test is scaled differently. for example, a 680 on the Physics Test is not the same as a 680 on the Chemistry Test. In addition, the percentile ranks for each subject test are based on a distinct reference population, so they should only be compared to other percentile ranks on the same subject test.
The GRE General Test and Subject Test scores can only be used for the following:
- Graduate-level program admission. Considering that it is used to measure the preparedness of the applicants for the graduate program, GRE scores may be used to select them and evaluate their qualifications. It is a valuable addition to the academic record that contributes to admission decisions.
- Award application. GRE scores may be used to be included in the criteria for the award selection of graduate fellowship applicants. A score report can be a basis to filter the most deserving students and most competitive applicant.
- Graduate study consultation. GRE scores are designed to equip students with the necessary skill set to become successful in graduate schools, which is why they can be used as guidance in the decision-making process.
The usage of GRE General Test and Subject Test scores is only appropriate in the graduate school context. (1)
Listed below are the inappropriate uses and interpretations of GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test scores:
- Minimum score requirement on the General Test for any non-educational purposes such as degree conferral, candidacy advancement, and credit-by-examination.
- Inclusion of score requirements on the General Test or Subject Tests in employment decisions such as hiring, salary, retention, or promotion.
- Presentation of outcome assessments using verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, or analytical writing measures.
GRE scores should not be interpreted nor used for irrelevant objectives such as non-educational purposes, employment decisions, and outcome assessments (5).
The ETS is the only acceptable and valid source of GRE scores. They issue official score reports which they send directly to approved institutions and organizations and answer raised concerns that question the authenticity and accuracy of the results. The GRE program does not acknowledge any other sources apart from ETS. Therefore, institutions are informed to only secure verified documents from them.
Report score ranges are more ideal to avoid the tendency of applicants to self-select programs or scholarships as they diversify individual results for any graduate department or program. It censors the idea of a minimum score requirement, so enrolment opportunities will not be reduced to personal considerations. With report score ranges, admission processes become more inclusive.
GRE scores support applicants by increasing their self-efficacy in academic endeavors or providing interventions to cope with their incompetence. GRE scores determine the capability of applicants to survive graduate school by measuring their performance in the skills that are included in the test. Preparing for the examination motivates improvement in practical and theoretical knowledge that advanced education demands from them. Remarkable results indicate a decent ability to absorb and build knowledge at a professional level. Thus, applicants who display a commendable performance are likely to succeed. On the other hand, GRE results can be used to identify who among the population needs additional support upon admission to the program. Students who academically struggle can be immediately provided with an intervention that will help them improve their weaknesses and stay in the program. When it comes to evaluating applicants, GRE scores can be used in two ways: as a sign of a thorough review of application materials and as a common comparable context. When there is a disparity between the GRE General Test scores and the undergraduate grade point average (UGPA) due to certain circumstances in the applicant’s background, admission committees may evaluate the applicant’s skills, attributes, and potential for success with their other documents, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation. In the case of international students, GRE scores serve as a common ground for them, making their evaluation easier and their comparison more convenient. (6)
During the ETS research, the findings showed a significant correlation between the placement of GRE percentiles and graduate grade point average, between GRE scores and GPAs, and between GRE scores and graduate school completion rates. Statistically, the analysis showed that garnering a 4.0 GPA is 3 to 5 times more likely when an applicant is placed in the top percentile. Moreover, a correlation of 0.30 to 0.45 is found between GRE scores and GPAs. In addition to that, graduate school completion rates are correlated to GRE scores by 0.11 to 0.39 points. four. (4)
ETS highly valued the confidentiality of GRE scores. The dissemination of records is minimized. However, it can be obtained with the explicit permission of the test taker. Nonetheless, it cannot be freely displayed or included in documents that are sent outside the institution, such as academic transcripts. (5)