Score Reporting Policies
- Score Reporting
- Revising Reported Scores
- Cancellation of Scores by ETS
- Independent Intellectual Activity
- Confidentiality and Authenticity of GRE Scores
GRE® score-reporting policies have been adopted by the GRE Board to encourage the appropriate use of GRE scores and to protect the right of students to control the distribution of their own score reports. Current GRE Board policy states that scores are reportable for the five years prior to the 2012–13 testing year (July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2012). Absences are not reported. Percentile ranks shown on score reports are based on the performance of the current reference group for each test regardless of when the scores were earned.
With the introduction of the new ScoreSelectSM option in July 2012, a test taker may select to report scores from their most recent test administration, all test administrations, or scores from one or many test administrations. Scores for a test administration must be reported in their entirety. The test taker will select specific test administration dates so that their scores are all from the same testing session. Institutions will receive score reports that show the scores that test takers selected to send to them. There will be no special indication if other GRE tests have been taken. The ScoreSelect option is available for both the GRE® revised General Test and GRE Subject Tests, and can be used by anyone with reportable scores from the last five years.
If an institution would like applicants to submit scores from all GRE tests taken, the GRE program advises institutions to communicate this information directly to prospective applicants. The GRE Program encourages test takers to refer to an institution’s policies with regard to the GRE tests if the test taker is unsure of which scores to send.
Revising Reported Scores
ETS routinely follows extensive review and quality-control procedures to detect and avoid flawed questions and consequent errors in scoring. Nonetheless, occasionally an error is discovered after scores have been reported. Whenever this happens, the specific circumstances are reviewed carefully, and a decision is made about how best to take corrective action that is fairest to all concerned.
Revised scores reported during the current year are reported directly to graduate schools and graduate fellowship sponsors as well as to students themselves because such scores are likely to be a component of current applications for admission. Revisions to scores reported in the previous five years are sent to the affected students, who may request that ETS send the revised scores to any graduate schools or fellowship sponsors still considering their applications.
Cancellation of Scores by ETS
ETS strives to report scores that accurately reflect the performance of every test taker. Accordingly, ETS's standards and procedures for administering tests have two primary goals: giving test takers equivalent opportunities to demonstrate their abilities and preventing any test takers from gaining an unfair advantage over others. To promote these objectives, ETS reserves the right to cancel any test score when, in ETS's judgment, a testing irregularity occurs; there is an apparent discrepancy in a test taker's identification; the test taker engages in misconduct or plagiarism, copying or communication occurs or the score is invalid for another reason. In addition, if ETS has information that ETS considers sufficient to indicate that a test taker has engaged in any activity that affects score validity, such as having someone else take the test for you, obtaining test questions or answers via the Internet, email, text messaging or postings, it will result in score cancellation and/or any other action ETS deems appropriate, including banning the test taker from future tests. Test takers must agree to these terms and conditions when registering for the test and again on test day. When, for any of the above reasons, ETS cancels a test score that has already been reported, score recipients are notified that the score has been canceled.
"Testing irregularities" refers to problems with the administration of a test. Testing irregularities may result from actions of test takers, test center personnel, ETS, or from natural or man-made causes. When testing irregularities occur, they may affect an individual or groups of test takers. Such problems include, without limitation, administrative errors (such as improper timing, improper seating, defective materials [e.g., improper test forms], and defective equipment); improper access to test content; and other disruptions of test administrations (such as natural disasters or other emergencies). When testing irregularities occur, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score. When, in ETS's judgment it is appropriate to do so, ETS gives affected test takers the opportunity to take the test again as soon as possible without charge.
When, in ETS's judgment or the judgment of test center administrators, there is a discrepancy in a test taker's identification, the test taker may be dismissed from the test center. In addition, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score if the documents or photos from the test day cannot be authenticated.
When ETS or test center administrators find that there is misconduct in connection with a test, the test taker may be dismissed from the test center or ETS may decline to score the test or may cancel the test score. Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, noncompliance with Test Center Procedures and Regulations. Test takers whose scores are cancelled forfeit their test fees and must pay to take the entire GRE test again at a future administration. No record of score cancellations, or the reason for cancellation, will appear on the test taker's future score reports sent to colleges, universities and/or fellowship sponsors.
ETS may also cancel scores if, in its judgment, there is substantial evidence that they are invalid for any other reason. Substantial evidence means evidence that is sufficient to persuade a reasonable person; the substantial evidence standard is lower (i.e., requires less proof) than the reasonable doubt, clear and convincing, and preponderance of the evidence standards. Evidence of invalid scores may include, without limitation, discrepant handwriting, unusual answer patterns and inconsistent performance on different parts of the test. Before canceling scores pursuant to this paragraph, ETS notifies the test taker in writing about its concerns, gives the test taker an opportunity to submit information that addresses ETS's concerns, considers any such information submitted and offers the test taker a choice of options. The options may include voluntary score cancellation, a free retest or arbitration in accordance with ETS’s standard Arbitration Agreement. In addition, the test taker is sent a copy of a booklet, Why and How Educational Testing Service Questions Test Scores, which explains this process in greater detail. (This booklet is available to a test taker at any time on request.)
Independent Intellectual Activity
Essay responses on the Analytical Writing section are reviewed by ETS essay-similarity-detection software and by experienced essay readers during the scoring process. In light of the high value placed on independent intellectual activity within graduate schools and universities, ETS reserves the right to cancel test scores of any test taker when an essay response includes any of the following:
- text that is unusually similar to that found in one or more other GRE essay responses
- quoting or paraphrasing, without attribution, language that appears in published or unpublished sources
- unacknowledged use of work that has been produced through collaboration with others without citation of the contribution of others
- essays submitted as work of the test taker that appear to have been borrowed in whole or in part from elsewhere or prepared by another person
When one or more of the above circumstances occurs, ETS may conclude, in its professional judgment, that the essay response does not reflect the independent writing skills that this test seeks to measure. When ETS reaches that conclusion, it cancels the Analytical Writing score and, because Analytical Writing scores are an integral part of the test as a whole, scores for the GRE® General Test (administered prior to August 1, 2011) or the GRE revised General Test are canceled as well.
Confidentiality and Authenticity of GRE Scores
- GRE scores are confidential and are not to be released by an institutional user without the explicit permission of the test taker.
- GRE scores are not to be included in academic transcripts.
- Dissemination of score records should be kept at a minimum, and all staff who have access to them should be explicitly advised of their confidential nature.
- To ensure the authenticity of scores, the GRE Board urges that institutions accept only official reports of GRE scores received directly from ETS.
- The GRE Program recognizes the right of institutions as well as students to privacy with regard to information supplied by and about them. ETS therefore safeguards all information stored in its data or research files from unauthorized disclosure.
- Information about an institution (identified by name) will be released only in a manner consistent with a prior agreement or with the consent of the institution.
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