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Field Trial of Proposed GRE Question Types for Test Takers with Disabilities

Laitusis, Cara; Frankel, Lois; Loew, Ruth; Midouhas, Emily; Minsky, Jennifer
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, p6.2.1-6.2.4
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Attitudes Graduate Admissions Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Group Differences Item Types Revised GRE Surveys Test Format Test-Takers with Disabilities


Details the field trial that examined performance on and reactions to the question types proposed for use on the GRE revised General Test for test takers with disabilities. Participants in the field trial represented six major disability groups (visual, hearing, physical, learning, ADHD, and psychiatric). The test format included five test sections, administered in the following order: Section 1, new Quantitative questions; Section 2, new Verbal questions; Section 3, new Verbal questions; Section 4, current Quantitative questions; and Section 5, current Verbal questions. Participants also responded to two surveys. A short background survey was administered prior to testing and a longer postadministration survey designed to capture test-taker reactions to the proposed new question types was administered following the test. Participants who took the test in an alternate format were also asked for feedback on the format used for the different question types. Results indicated that test takers with disabilities took considerably longer to complete the questions compared to test takers without disabilities who participated in an earlier pilot using the same questions. Test takers with learning disabilities also tended to skip over questions with high reading loads. However, most test takers with learning disabilities, hearing impairments, and physical disabilities who only required extended time on the computer-based test completed the sections with the proposed new question types within the most frequently granted time extension (50% extended time, or time and a half). The exit survey provided additional information on the proposed questions types. Participants felt that some question types needed clearer directions, and there was concern about questions that required significant use of memory. Alternate format test takers, particularly audio users, indicated that some of the new question types presented a larger challenge to complete compared to the current question types. Comments from the survey were used to refine the presentation of test material and test directions in alternate formats.

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