Guidelines for Interpreting ETS® Personal Potential Index (ETS® PPI) Evaluation Reports

The ETS® Personal Potential Index (ETS® PPI) is designed to help programs make better admissions decisions by providing standardized, applicant-specific information on core personal attributes that graduate deans and faculty have identified as important for success in graduate, business or professional study. Applicants select individuals to evaluate them on six personal dimensions, which include:

  • Knowledge and Creativity
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Resilience
  • Ethics and Integrity
  • Planning and Organization

Evaluators respond to 24 statements about the applicant: four in each of the six personal dimensions. Evaluators also provide an overall evaluation and can include written comments for each of the dimensions and the overall rating.

Each ETS PPI Evaluation Report contains ratings from up to five evaluators, who are typically faculty or employers. Information about the evaluators appears at the bottom at the first page of the report.


ETS PPI Evaluation Report Users

Institutions that award graduate degrees and non-degree-granting institutions that award graduate fellowships are eligible for consideration to receive ETS PPI Evaluation Reports. ETS retains the right to make exceptions to this policy in special circumstances.


The general appropriateness of using ETS PPI ratings for graduate admissions and counseling for graduate study has been established by research studies carried out by ETS. ETS PPI ratings may be appropriate for some other purposes, but is it important for users to validate their use for those purposes. The ETS PPI staff will provide advice, without charge, on the design of appropriate validation studies.

ETS PPI evaluations, whether those of an individual or aggregated for an institution, are confidential and can be released only by authorization of the individual or institution or by compulsion of legal process.

Use of Reportable ETS PPI Evaluations Confidentiality

ETS PPI evaluations are part of an individual's reportable history for five years after the evaluation is created.


The following guidelines should be considered when reviewing ETS PPI Evaluation Reports:

  • Each Evaluation Report should be considered as an opportunity to see an applicant's strengths. The entire report, including numerical ratings and written comments, should be considered along with the applicant’s undergraduate grades, test scores, recommendation letters and other information.
  • It is important to consider the individual ratings in each of the categories and the comments provided by the evaluators. Please do not focus only on the mean ratings on the first page of the Evaluation Report.
  • Small differences in ETS PPI ratings should not be used to make distinctions among applicants.
  • Evaluators should be contacted if there are questions about their evaluations.