- The GRE is criticized for being a weakly predictive, biased test of graduate school potential for nonwhite, female and low-income test-takers, yet most universities still give it a central role in admissions.
- The Atlantic reports Educational Testing Service, creator of the GRE, warns universities about the limitations of its test and admits certain skills that could indicate future success are not assessed, but stands behind the test of verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing.
- Perhaps the major problem is how the tests are used by admissions committees who eliminate students outside of the top quintile of applicants, for example, and one GRE critic suggests, absent a better test entirely, ETS should offer more targeted rankings by student demographic to offer better comparisons.
Many graduate schools have gone test-optional and, in some cases, they qualify their policies. Students who have a certain number of years of work experience, for example, can prove their qualifications outside of the test or students who came up through a college’s honors program are assumed to be adequately prepared for that university’s graduate school. The GRE’s negative impact on diversity has been noted with increasing concern as universities face greater pressure to get more women and students of color into their cohorts.
Even earlier, colleges are increasingly questioning the validity of college entrance exams, the ACT and SAT. With the SAT’s recent makeover, dozens of colleges have gone test-optional in just the last year. Schools that still require standardized tests often tout “holistic” admissions policies that consider a student’s life context before making a decision. Though the University of Texas at Austin is fighting for its holistic review strategy before the Supreme Court.