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A Study of the Long-Term Stability of GRE General Test Scores

Kenneth M. Wilson
Research in Higher Education
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Sep., 1988), pp. 3-40
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40195877
Page Count: 38
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A Study of the Long-Term Stability of GRE General Test Scores
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Abstract

Some applicants for admission to graduate programs present Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test scores that are several years old. Due to different experiences over time, older GRE verbal, quantitative, and analytical scores may no longer accurately reflect the current capabilities of the applicants. To provide evidence regarding the long-term stability of GRE scores, test-retest correlations and average change (net gain) in test performance were analyzed for GRE General Test repeaters classified by time between test administrations in intervals ranging from less than 6 months to 10 years or more. Findings regarding average changes in verbal and quantitative test performance for long-term repeaters (with 5 years or more between tests), generally, and by graduate major area, sex, and ethnicity, appeared to be consistent with a differential growth hypothesis: Long-term repeaters generally, and in all of the subgroups, registered greater average (net) score gain on verbal tests than on quantitative tests and, for subgroups, the amount of gain tended to vary directly with initial means. A rationale is presented for a growth interpretation of the observed average gains in test performance. Implications for graduate school and GRE Program policies regarding the treatment of older test scores are considered.

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