About the ETS® Personal Potential Index

How Do You Get a More Complete Picture of an Applicant's Potential for Success in Graduate School?

Test scores, undergraduate grades and letters of recommendation tell only part of the story. What if you had a tool that provided reliable, quantifiable information about the personal attributes that influence an applicant's success in graduate school?

Now you do. The ETS® Personal Potential Index (ETS® PPI) is a web-based evaluation system designed to provide a more complete picture of an applicant's potential for success in graduate or professional school beyond grades, test scores and recommendation letters. Multiple evaluators the applicant has selected (up to five per evaluation report) rate the applicant on six personal attributes that have been identified as critical for success in graduate, business and professional school. ETS then creates an ETS PPI Evaluation Report that incorporates the evaluations and comments from all of the evaluators and sends the report to schools and programs the applicant designates.

View the ETS PPI Product Tour (Flash) to learn how the ETS PPI can benefit your graduate program or academic institution.

Six Attributes for Success

The ETS PPI offers information on six personal attributes of applicants that graduate, business and professional school deans and faculty have identified as essential for successful graduate study. These include:

  • Knowledge and creativity
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Resilience
  • Planning and organization
  • Ethics and integrity

Faculty and other evaluators rate applicants on each of these dimensions by responding to 24 statements. They also provide an overall rating.

"While we have objective information on the prior performance in undergraduate school and scores from the GRE®, we lack standardized information on other important traits, such as persistence, determination and creative potential — all important factors in completing a graduate degree. The development of the ETS Personal Potential Index serves as an important step in providing admission decision makers with more background information about critical characteristics of the applicant." — Scott A. Bass, Provost, American University

Read what others are saying about ETS PPI.

Created Through Extensive Research

The ETS PPI grew out of the groundbreaking work of ETS researchers in the measurement of personal attributes and their role in academic performance.

In hundreds of interviews, graduate and business school deans and faculty members frequently cited such personal attributes as resilience and communication skills as important for graduate-level success — even more frequently than mastery of the discipline. Interviewees also expressed concern about the persistent problem of graduate school attrition and time-to-degree, which they believed might be accounted for by personal attributes.

In addition, ETS PPI was pilot-tested internally at ETS as well as through Project 1000, a program designed to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate study.

Learn more about the research behind ETS PPI.

Validity Research for the ETS PPI

ETS is committed to ongoing validity research for ETS PPI that explores the relationship between these attributes and success in graduate, business and professional school.