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GRE® Board Statement Regarding the Fair And Appropriate Use of GRE Scores*

GRE® test scores are appropriately used as one factor in the selection of applicants for admission to graduate and business programs or recipients of graduate fellowships. Scores may also be used diagnostically for guidance and counseling.

Scores are most effectively used when validation evidence for score use and interpretation is available to document the relationship of different score levels to success in the graduate program. Such evidence may be obtained from a single program or may be based on combined evidence from similar programs.

Validity studies should be used to determine the validity of GRE test scores for identified appropriate uses and interpretations. Programs interested in conducting a validity study may contact the GRE Program (gretests@ets.org or 1-609-683-2002) for assistance with the technical aspects of conducting such a study.

The following principles should be adhered to in the use of GRE scores:

  • Test scores should always be used along with other sources of information such as course grades, letters of recommendation, personal statements, samples of academic work or professional experience.
  • A cut-off score (i.e., a minimum score) should never be used as the only criterion for denial of admission or awarding of a fellowship.
  • The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing scores should be treated as three separate and independent pieces of information. They should not be combined into a single score.
  • Scores on the Analytical Writing measure should be expressed on the 0–6 scale on which the measure is scored. They should not be equated to the scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures because the scales are not comparable.
  • Decisions about applicants should not be based on small score differences, due to the inherent uncertainty in all forms of measurement. Standard errors of measurement vary by test and are available in the GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores.
  • Departments and programs using GRE Subject Test scores should periodically review the test content description in order to verify the appropriateness of the content for their programs. Scores from Subject Tests in different fields are not comparable, and no conclusion should be drawn from comparing scores from tests in different fields.
  • GRE scores should not be used as a credential to grant a degree, to offer course credit by examination, for advancement to candidacy, or for employment decisions in a non-educational setting.

* This statement was revised and approved by the GRE Board Executive Committee in September 2011, for implementation in October 2011.

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