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Statistical Properties of the GRE Psychology Test Subscores GRE

Liu, Yuming; Robin, Frederic; Yoo, Hanwook; Manna, Venessa F.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Psychology Test (GRE), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Subscores, Augmented Subscore, Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Test Reliability, Value-Added, Statistical Properties


The GRE Psychology test is an achievement test that measures core knowledge in 12 content domains that represent the courses commonly offered at the undergraduate level. Currently, a total score and 2 subscores, experimental and social, are reported to test takers as well as graduate institutions. However, the American Psychological Association (APA) Board of Educational Affairs and the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) have expressed a need for reporting new subscores. To meet such a demand, Educational Testing Service (ETS) content experts, in collaboration with the APA and CUDCP, proposed a new mapping of 12 content domains onto 6 subtest areas: biological; cognitive; social; developmental; clinical; and measurement, methodology, and other. In this study, we investigated the latent structure of the test and evaluated the statistical properties of the 6 subscores. Factor analyses showed that the test was essentially unidimensional. The disattenuated correlations among the 6 raw subscores were relatively high. However, when augmented with the total score, the subscores displayed low to moderate value added. Further, profile analyses showed that the augmented subscores displayed noticeably distinct profiles among test takers with the same total score. No evidence suggested that the content mapping of the 6 subscores was unreasonable. Additional validity research is needed to support the use of the 6 subscores, once their intended use is made clearer.

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