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Development of an Inventory of Documented Accomplishments for Graduate Admissions

Baird, Leonard L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS GRE Board Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Admissions, Selection Procedures, Portfolios, Assessing Accomplishments, Student Inventories


This project is based on the assumption that a basic goal of graduate selection procedures is to select students who are likely to be productive, to be creative, to provide leadership, and to make a contribution to their fields. Many graduate departments' admissions committees feel the need for improved ways of assessing the out-of-class learning and accomplishments of students so they can select students more likely to be outstanding graduate students and who will eventually contribute most to the field. Thus, the purpose of the project is to develop comprehensive, concise, and accurate descriptions of the significant accomplishments of applicants, particularly when those accomplishments are not reflected in currently available assessments or application materials. This report describes the first two stages of a four-stage project. In the first stage, trial instruments were developed after thoroughly reviewing other attempts at assessing accomplishments and carefully considering the issues involved. Three prototypes were developed based on three approaches: a checklist approach, a semi-documented approach, and a CAEL-like open-ended portfolio approach. In the second stage, an instrument was developed that was designed to meet the operational and conceptual requirements of an inventory of documented accomplishments for graduate selection using as many of the positive features of earlier approaches in as simple a format as possible. In the third stage, the procedures will be tried out in a sample of graduate departments. The fourth stage will entail a broader instrument tryout and the long-term predictive validity of the assessment instrument would be examined against a variety of criteria of graduate school success.

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