Foreign Nationals Taking the GRE General Test During 1981-82: Highlights of a Study

Author(s):
Wilson, Kenneth M.
Publication Year:
1984
Report Number:
RR-84-23
GREB-81-23aR
Source:
Document Type:
Subject/Key Words:
English (second language) foreign students performance factors scores test bias

Abstract

During the 1981-82 testing year, foreign nationals representing over 140 countries or territories made up approximately 17 percent of all Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test takers. Most of these examinees were non-native speakers of English for whom average scores on the verbal and analytical measures were considerably lower than those of native English speakers. However, the quantitative mean profile of foreign examinees did not vary according to English language background and was quite similar to that of U.S. examinees. Detailed comparative profiles of GRE performance data are provided for the general foreign and U.S. examinee populations; for foreign examinees classified by country of citizenship; and for groups of foreign and U.S. examinees defined in terms of age, sex, reported English language communication status, intended graduate field, U.S. vs. other undergraduate origin, repeater vs. nonrepeater status, and other personal, academic, and testing-related characteristics. Study findings suggest that GRE General Test data (especially verbal and analytical test data) generated by non-U.S. citizens from non-native English speaking societies should not be treated as comparable to test data for U.S. examinees or examinees from other native-English speaking societies.

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