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Results from the ETS® Personal Skills and Qualities Pilot Program

The ETS® Personal Skills and Qualities (PSQ) tool began as a joint research project with a team at Yale School of Management (SOM) who wanted to draw connections between applicants' behavioral skills and determine how they would perform once they arrive on campus. After a multiyear pilot study with about 8,000 participants, Yale officially adopted the tool and is using it operationally.

  "… this [tool] adds incremental predictability beyond measures we were already using."

Bruce DelMonico, Yale School of Management

"We found that this [tool] adds incremental predictability beyond measures we were already using. By adding an instrument that doesn't rely on subjective interpretation like essays and interviews do, our hope is to reduce bias in the admissions process," said Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean of Admissions, with Yale School of Management

DelMonico also describes how Yale uses the tool in a video on the school's MBA admissions webpage.

A paper sharing outcomes of the project is currently in consideration with a peer-review journal. Its primary author, ETS Distinguished Presidential Appointee Patrick Kyllonen, said it confirms that several interpersonal and intrapersonal skills predicted outcomes that the Yale SOM team was interested in predicting.

Read more about the project in the Yale SOM blog and Poets & Quants.

Perspectives from pilot schools

A pilot study is currently underway at over a dozen institutions, including business, law and core graduate programs. These include minority-serving and international institutions. Information will be gathered through Spring 2022, and this page will be updated with new information at that time.

Many pilot participants have expressed interest in using the tool for student or career development. ETS is currently collaborating with pilot schools to determine:

  • what information should be included in the insights reports delivered to schools and learners
  • what interpretive guides and learning materials would be most helpful to those looking to further develop their skills in preparation for career success

  "Measurement of abilities such as persistence … have proven most effective in predicting success …"

Carrol S. Perrino, Morgan State University

"Measurement of abilities such as persistence, self-efficacy and engagement have proven most effective in predicting success in college and beyond offering the potential for continued enhancement during the college experience," said Carrol S. Perrino, Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department, and Founding Director of the Center for Predictive Analytics at Morgan State University.

Some pilot participants are interested in using PSQ insights for cohort development and to inform applicant interviews. These participants expressed interest in better understanding their applicants beyond traditional measures, and in a more consistent, less biased way than they could through letters and personal statements.

  "We are excited to partner with ETS in yet another innovative venture …"

Jane Aiken, Wake Forest School of Law

"We are excited to partner with ETS in yet another innovative venture to identify ways of assessing law school candidates for the skills that will allow them to succeed in law school and their legal careers. Wake Forest Law alumni are known for their outstanding character and we are thrilled to have a potential tool in the PSQ [tool] that will help identify future students whose strong character traits may be veiled by more traditional evaluative methods," said Jane Aiken, Dean at Wake Forest School of Law.

Learn more