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GRE® Score Policies

Score Reporting Policies

With the ScoreSelect® option, test takers who retake a GRE® test can decide which GRE scores to send to designated institutions. This option is available for both the GRE® General Test and the GRE® Subject Tests and can be used by anyone with reportable scores from the last five years. Scores for a test administration must be reported in their entirety. Institutions receive score reports that show the scores that test takers selected to send to them. There are no special notations to indicate whether or not other GRE tests have been taken.

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 individuals to control the distribution of their own score reports. Current GRE Board policy states that:

  • For tests taken on or after July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following the individual's test date.
  • For tests taken prior to July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following the testing year in which the individual tested.

Departments and programs should not use scores that are older than five years due to changes in ability that may occur over extended periods of time.

Score reports are sent to test takers and to institutions of higher education granting baccalaureate or higher degrees, to approved graduate fellowship-granting sponsors designated by the test takers and to vendors the score recipients might designate to process the scores they receive. Score reports are also available to approved GRE score recipients in the ETS® Data Manager.

Score reports for the computer-delivered GRE General Test are sent to institutions and available in the ETS Data Manager approximately 10–15 days after the test date. Score reports for the paper-delivered GRE General Test and Subject Tests are sent to institutions and available in the ETS Data Manager approximately five weeks after the test date.

Confidentiality of Information

The GRE Program recognizes the right of institutions as well as individuals to privacy with regard to information supplied by and about them. ETS therefore safeguards from unauthorized disclosure all information stored in its data or research files. 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.

Protecting the Integrity of GRE Tests

ETS employs a three-pronged approach of prevention, detection and communication to ensure the validity of test scores.

ETS has procedures in place to prevent testing and scoring fraud. These can be seen from the test design right through to the score reporting process, including using the highest standards to create and deliver test content, establishing secure test centers, ensuring the training of test center administrators, instituting and enforcing test-taker rules and requirements, and maintaining the quality of scoring and score reporting through extensive training of GRE raters, as well as security measures implemented for the paper score reports.

In addition, ETS is vigilant in identifying and taking action against fraudulent activity. All reported incidents of fraud are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by the ETS Office of Testing Integrity. Statistical analysis methods are also used to help ensure that valid scores are reported. The ETS Psychometric Analysis and Research team monitors score trends by test center, country and region, and reports any suspicious anomalies to the Office of Testing Integrity for review. In terms of communication, ETS will continue to inform institutions that are designated score recipients when scores have been cancelled. In addition, any concerns regarding test results can be reported to ETS and will be investigated.

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
  • preventing any test takers from gaining an unfair advantage over others

To promote these objectives, ETS reserves the right to cancel any test score, whether or not it has already been reported, and to take such other actions as ETS deems appropriate, including banning the test taker from future tests and referring the matter to law enforcement authorities, when, in ETS's judgment:

  • a testing irregularity occurs
  • there is an apparent discrepancy in a test taker's identification
  • the test taker may have engaged in misconduct, including without limitation having someone else take the test for him/her, obtaining improper access to test questions or answers, disclosing test questions or answers to third parties, plagiarism, or copying or communication
  • the score is invalid for another reason

ETS reserves the right to share any and all information in its possession about a test taker and the terms and conditions of test taking with (a) any entity which ETS recognizes as an authorized user of test scores, including without limitation any entity to which ETS reports test scores at the test taker's request, and (b) any government agency with responsibility for administration or enforcement of U.S. criminal and/or immigration laws. When ETS cancels a test score that has already been reported, it notifies score recipients that the score has been canceled and may also explain why the score has been canceled. We will provide a copy of the cancellation letter you receive to recipients of your scores.

Testing Irregularities

"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.

Identification Discrepancies

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 validated or if ETS has evidence that the test taker did not appear for the test. ETS will also cancel scores, ban test takers from future testing and notify score recipients of the cancellation if anomalies are detected after scores have been reported.

Misconduct

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.

Invalid Scores

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.)

Note: The arbitration option is available only to test takers who test in the United States and U.S. Territories.

Essay responses on the Analytical Writing section are reviewed by ETS essay-similarity-detection software and by experienced essay raters during the scoring process. In light of the high value placed on independent intellectual activity within graduate schools and universities, the test taker's response should represent his or her original work. 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 any published or unpublished sources, including sources from the internet and/or sources provided by any third party
  • 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 are canceled as well.

For additional security questions, or concerns, please contact the ETS Office of Testing Integrity by email at CommunicateTestSecurity@ets.org, or by phone at 1-800-750-6991 (United States, U.S. Territories, and Canada) or 1-609-406-5430 (all other locations).

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, business and law schools and graduate fellowship sponsors as well as to students because such scores are likely to be part 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, business and law schools or fellowship sponsors still considering their applications.

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