skip to main content skip to footer

Perceptions and Uses of GRE Scores After the Launch of the GRE revised General Test in August 2011 GRE

Klieger, David M.; Belur, Vinetha; Kotloff, Lauren J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-17-03, GRE-17-01
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Subject Tests (GRE), Admissions Testing, Decision Making, Score Scale, Score Interpretation, Data Simulations, Perceptions, Surveys, Revised GRE, Higher Education, International Students, Minority Groups, Test Scores, Graduate Schools


This survey study investigated how graduate school admissions committees perceive and use the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests after the launch of the GRE revised General Test in August 2011. These perceptions and uses impact the validity of the tests. Prior research about the perceptions and uses of the General Test and Subject Tests was last conducted in 2002 and, prior to that, in 2000 (for writing) and 1984. Therefore, even without test revisions, perceptions and uses of the GRE testsmay have changed. Overall, by graduate discipline area, by graduate degree level sought, and by future career track preparation (research vs. professional), we examined online survey responses from 163 individuals involved in graduate school admissions. We did not find major changes in the use or perceived utility of the revised General Test or Subject Tests for admissions or funding decisions. General Test scores are valued in relation to other admissions information. Sometimes, valuation of these scores leads to practices proscribed by published GRE Program guidelines, such as the use of cut scores. Scores on the Subject Tests continue to be valued less than other admissions information. Perceptions and uses of the GRE tests often vary when decision makers consider applications from international applicants and underrepresented racial or ethnic minorities. That admissions committees can receive and compare scores reported on the former General Test score scales to scores reported on the revised General Test score scales has resulted in various practices, including the common use of percentile ranks to compare scores in ways discouraged by GRE Program guidelines. To the extent that decision makers use concordance information recommended by Educational Testing Service (ETS) to compare scores, they do so with mixed success.

Read More