Overview of GRE Test

 

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The GRE Test is an outgrowth of a project funded by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the early l930s to study the outcomes of college education. However, widespread use of the GRE began after World War II when a much larger and more diverse student body began to pursue graduate degrees.

 

The test was used by institutions as a common, objective measure to evaluate the credentials of applicants from different, and often not widely known, undergraduate programs. To provide a better basis for evaluating students, GRE test results were used to supplement other evidence of students’ qualifications. Therefore, the test helped to promote greater fairness and equity than was likely through the existing admissions procedures. Today, use of the test continues to enhance equity, fairness, and access to graduate school.

 

The GRE Board endorses guidelines for the appropriate use of test scores. A major goal of the guidelines is to ensure a fair graduate application process. Within the context of appropriate test use, these guidelines emphasize that  the test scores should always be used along with other sources of information such as course grades, letters of recommendation, personal statements, samples of academic work, or professional experience.

 

No single measure, including the GRE test, assesses every discipline related skill necessary for success in graduate work. Nor do the GRE Tests assess some factors important to academic and career success, such as motivation, creativity, and interpersonal skills. Therefore, all available pertinent information about an applicant should be considered in making admissions and funding decisions.

 

Institutions using GRE scores are encouraged to examine the relationship between test scores and measures of performance in their academic programs. GRE Program staff will provide advice without charge on the design of appropriate validation studies. Departments using GRE scores should conduct a validity study within the department to determine the relationship of different score levels to success in the graduate program.

 

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