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Understanding What the Numbers Mean: A Straightforward Approach to GRE Predictive Validity

Bridgeman, Brent; Burton, Nancy W.; Cline, Frederick
Publication Year:
Wendler, Cathy; Bridgeman, Brent (eds.) with assistance from Chelsea Ezzo. The Research Foundation for the GRE revised General Test: A Compendium of Studies. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2014, p5.1.1-5.1.4
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
General Test (GRE) Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Multiple Regression Analysis Predictive Validity Revised GRE


Examines the validity of GRE scores using an approach that does not rely on the traditional reporting of correlations and regression equations. A correlation of .30 that, when squared, is said to explain less than 10% may not seem to be very useful, but focusing instead on the proportion of students who succeeded in graduate school at different levels of test performance tells a different story. Data from 145 graduate departments were analyzed, and within each department, students were divided into quartiles based on the GRE scores and on their graduate grades. In biology departments, for example, only 15% of the students in the bottom GRE quartile of their department were in the top grade quartile, while 43% of the students in top GRE quartile were in the top grade quartile. Other analyses examined the percentage of graduate students who excelled in their first year or two of studies (defined by a grade point average [GPA] of 3.8 or higher) for students at different levels of undergraduate grades and GRE scores.

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