The new Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning score scales:

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Better
by Design
™
The new
Verbal Reasoning
and Quantitative
Reasoning
score scales:
A helpful overview of
what you need to know
Inside:
• An in-depth look at the new
130 – 170 score scales
• Guidance on making the
transition to the new score scales
• Helpful considerations when
using GRE® scores
Using the new score scales:
How they provide more simplicity in comparing applicants.
The GRE® revised General Test was introduced in August 2011, making the most trusted
assessment of graduate-level skills even better — for you, and for your potential students.
With new question types and the new test-taker friendly design, the GRE revised General Test also features new score
scales for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures. These new score scales will help you make more
meaningful comparisons between applicants — and even better admissions decisions for your program.
Here’s a quick review of the new score scales:
• Verbal Reasoning scores are reported on a
130 – 170 score scale, in one-point increments
(the prior 200 – 800 score scale was reported in
10-point increments).
• Quantitative Reasoning scores are reported on a
130 – 170 score scale, in one-point increments
(the prior 200 – 800 score scale was reported in
10-point increments).
• Analytical Writing scores are reported on the
0 – 6 score scale, in half-point increments.
How the new score scales provide
clearer differentiation
The 41-point score scales were selected to reflect the
changes in content, test length and the new psychometric
model of the GRE revised General Test.
In setting the new score scales, one goal was to have scores
spread out across the entire range of possible scores.
For example, in the case of the Quantitative Reasoning
scale, this will reduce the portion of test takers’ scores
that are “bunched” at the upper end of the scale —
as has been the case in the past — providing better
differentiation between top-scoring applicants.
Why one-point increments lead to
better decisions
Scores in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning
measures are reported in one-point increments, making
it easier for you to distinguish performance differences
between your applicants.
For example, a 500 and a 520 on the prior Verbal
Reasoning score scale created the impression that there
was a bigger difference in ability than there actually was.
But by reporting in one-point increments, a 150 and 152,
for example, demonstrate small differences.
Now small score differences are less likely to be interpreted
as meaningful when comparing applicants — and larger
score differences will stand out more clearly.
A Sample of the Percentile Ranks Table
Based on the performances of examinees who tested between
July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2010.
Scaled
Score
Percent of Examinees Scoring Lower than
Selected Scaled Scores
Percentile Ranks:
A valuable source
of information
Verbal
Reasoning
Quantitative
Reasoning
160
86
84
159
84
82
158
79
79
157
77
77
156
72
74
155
69
69
Percentile ranks are very
helpful when comparing
scores on the prior and new
tests because they’re indicative
of how well the test taker
performed in relation to other
test takers.
154
64
67
Here’s how:
153
62
65
152
56
61
151
51
56
• A
percentile rank for a score
indicates the percentage of
test takers who took the test
and received a lower score.
150
48
53
149
42
49
148
40
44
147
36
40
146
31
36
145
28
32
144
26
26
143
21
22
142
18
19
141
16
16
140
13
12
139
10
10
• T hey’re based on the
performance of the current
reference group from a recent
three-year period.*
• T he reference group is
updated every year, which
means the percentile rank for
any score may vary slightly
over the years.
* July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2010.
The current percentile ranks will
be appropriate for use through
June 2012.
To view the complete Percentile Ranks table, go to
www.ets.org/gre/percentile.
To learn more about using GRE scores, download the
GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores at www.ets.org/gre/guide.
Comparing applicants:
Using concordance tables to get familiar with
the new score scales.
To help you more easily transition to using scores on the new score scales, we’ve created
two concordance tables — one for the Verbal Reasoning measure and one for the
Quantitative Reasoning measure.
Since GRE® scores are valid for five years, these concordance tables will help you understand the relationship
between scores on the new 130 – 170 score scales and scores on the prior 200 – 800 score scales — making it
easier for you to compare candidates.
Percentile ranks are also included on the concordance tables for your convenience. A sample portion of each
concordance table is shown to the right.
For business schools: The easy-to-use GRE® Comparison Tool
The GRE Comparison Tool places GRE scores in the context of GMAT®
Total scores, so business schools that are more familiar with GMAT
scores can understand and appropriately interpret GRE scores.
• This online tool calculates a predicted GMAT Total score
based on an applicant’s GRE Verbal Reasoning and
Quantitative Reasoning scores.
• You can calculate an estimated GMAT Total score by
entering GRE scores on either the 130 – 170 score
scales or the 200 – 800 score scales.
Try it now at www.ets.org/gre/comparison.
A Sample of the Verbal Reasoning
Concordance Table
For use November 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012
Scores on the
Prior Scale
650
Estimated Scores
on the
Current Scale
163
A Sample of the Quantitative Reasoning
Concordance Table
For use November 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012
% Rank
Scores on the
Prior Scale
93
650
Estimated Scores
on the
Current Scale
151
% Rank
56
640
162
90
640
151
56
630
162
90
630
150
53
620
161
89
620
149
49
610
160
86
610
149
49
600
160
86
600
148
44
590
159
84
590
148
44
580
158
79
580
147
40
570
158
79
570
147
40
560
157
77
560
146
36
550
156
72
550
146
36
540
156
72
540
145
32
530
155
69
530
145
32
520
154
64
520
144
26
510
154
64
510
144
26
500
153
62
500
144
26
490
152
56
490
143
22
View the complete Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning concordance tables at www.ets.org/gre/concordance.
To learn more about using GRE scores, download the
GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores at www.ets.org/gre/guide.
The new score report:
Redesigned to give you more information about applicants.
Here’s a closer look:
• S core reports for those who tested on or after August 1, 2011
show Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores on
the new 130 – 170 score scales, in one-point increments.
• S core reports for those who tested before August 1, 2011
show scores originally earned on the 200 – 800 score scales,
along with corresponding estimated scores on the new
130 – 170 score scales.
• A
ll score reports show the Analytical Writing measure scores
based on the 0 – 6 score scale, in half-point increments.
• A
ll score reports show one set of percentile ranks for each
measure, which indicate how the applicant performed
in comparison to the reference group from a recent
three-year period.
Plus:
• Y
ou will also receive the test taker’s email address, phone
number, intended graduate major and more.
• N
ew paper score reports feature the ETS® Security Guard —
a special heat-sensitive ink that, when activated, verifies the
report’s authenticity.
For your convenience, GRE® score reports are available in
these formats:
• paper reports
• electronic score files via SCORELINK® Internet Delivery Service
• electronic score files on CD-ROM
To learn about receiving scores via the SCORELINK service,
the fastest method of score reporting, go to
www.ets.org/gre/scorelink.
New test-taker
information including
email address, telephone
number and intended
graduate major.
Special heat-sensitive
ink for added security.
Percentile ranks
based on the
most recent
three-year period.
Scores on the
current scale for
administrations
in August 2011
or later.
Scores on the
prior scale for
administrations
before August 2011.
Estimated scores
on the current scale
for administrations
before August 2011.
To learn more about using GRE scores, download the
GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores at www.ets.org/gre/guide.
GRE scores:
®
A look at how the test is scored.
One of the most significant enhancements introduced with the GRE® revised General Test is
the advanced technology of the new Multi-Stage Test (MST) design. With the MST design, the
Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures of the computer-based test are now
adaptive at the section level.
Here’s what that means for scoring:
• Each measure has two operational sections; the
computer selects the second section of a measure
based on the test taker’s performance on
the first section.
• Within each section, all questions contribute equally
to the final score.
• For each of the two measures, a raw score is computed,
which is based on the number of questions
answered correctly.
• The raw score is then converted to a scaled score
through a process called equating, which accounts for
minor variations in difficulty among the different
test editions as well as differences in difficulty among
individuals’ tests introduced by the section-level
adaptation. This means a given scaled score reflects
approximately the same level of performance —
regardless of which section was selected and when
the test was taken.
To learn more about scoring of the computer-based
and paper-based test for all three measures — Verbal
Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical
Writing — visit www.ets.org/gre/aboutscores.
A look at how scores are helpful in the admissions process.
As graduate and business school programs around the world become familiar with the
new score scales, it’s a good time to reflect on the benefits of using GRE scores.
For more than 60 years, the GRE General Test has been a valid predictor of success at the graduate level. With its
introduction in August 2011, the GRE revised General Test continues to:
• assess the skills that graduate and business school programs value — verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning,
critical thinking and analytical writing.
• provide a common measure for comparing applicants with differing educational and cultural backgrounds.
• furnish independent information to supplement the evaluation of grades and recommendations.
• provide access to a broad, diverse pool of highly qualified applicants interested in pursuing an
advanced degree.
To learn more about using GRE scores, download the
GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores at www.ets.org/gre/guide.
Best practices:
Helpful guidelines for using GRE® scores in your admissions process.
As you become familiar with the new score scales and score report, now is also a
good time to review best practices for evaluating applicants’ scores. Following these
guidelines will help you make the best decisions for your program.
What to keep in mind when using the
new score scales
Make the transition to the new 130 – 170 score scales
Departments and programs that accept GRE® scores are
encouraged to transition from using the prior score scales
to using the new score scales. To make the transition, you
are encouraged to use scores from the prior test that are
converted to the new 130 – 170 score scales based on
the concordance tables — as well as the actual scores
from test takers who took the GRE revised General Test.
It is not recommended to take the new score scales and
revert to the prior score scales.
Use concordance information to transition to the
new score scales
Concordance tables show the relationship between the
scores on the prior score scales and new score scales.
These tables may be appropriately used for translating an
institution’s historical guidelines for GRE scores on the prior
score scales to the new score scales. Using the tables in this
way should result in the selection of approximately the
same proportion of students.
It’s important to note that the scores in the concordance
tables are approximations, not equivalences, and that a
test taker who has a particular score on the prior scale
would not necessarily obtain the exact concorded score
if they had taken the GRE revised General Test.
Score users should use special care in evaluating test
takers who received a Quantitative Reasoning score at
the top end of the prior 200 – 800 score scale. Now, with
the new 130 – 170 score scale, we can provide more
differentiation for higher ability test takers. However,
test takers who took the prior test and received an
800 on the Quantitative Reasoning measure received
the highest score possible that they were able to earn
on the measure. Therefore, this information should be
considered when making admissions decisions.
Refrain from making decisions based on small
score differences
One benefit of moving to one-point increments is that
small score differences are less likely to be interpreted
as meaningful differences. That’s why it’s recommended
that small differences in GRE scores not be used to make
distinctions among applicants.
Another thing to consider: With all standardized tests —
including the prior GRE General Test — there’s a standard
error of measurement (SEM). The SEM of the difference
between scores should be taken into account when
comparing applicants’ scores on the same measure,
because this means a score in a measure may actually be
a few points higher or lower than reported. SEMs vary by
test; the SEMs for GRE tests are available in the
GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores, which you can download
at www.ets.org/gre/guide.
What to consider when using GRE scores
in general
Use the most recent percentile ranks when comparing
applicants from different GRE testing years
Use multiple criteria, in addition to GRE scores,
when considering applicants
In addition to test scores, the GRE Program describes scores
in terms of their standing in appropriate reference groups. To
that end, each GRE test score is reported with a corresponding
percentile rank, which indicates the percentage of test takers
who received a lower score for that measure. Percentile
ranks are included in score concordance tables and on score
reports for easier comparison between applicants, and
are based on three years of performance data. The current
percentile ranks will be appropriate for use through June 2012.
As part of the admissions process, it is recommended
that multiple sources of information be used to both
ensure fairness and balance the limitations of any single
measure of knowledge, skills or abilities.
These sources may include:
• Undergraduate grade-point average
• Letters of recommendation
• Personal statement
• Samples of academic work
• GRE® Subject Test scores, which measure achievement
in a particular field of study in eight subject areas
• T OEFL® scores, which measure the ability of nonnative
English speakers to use and understand the English
language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the
university classroom
• ETS® Personal Potential Index Evaluation Reports,
which provide quantitative and qualitative feedback
from evaluators on six core personal attributes widely
recognized as essential for graduate-level success
Consider Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning
and Analytical Writing scores as three separate and
independent measures
For each measure, the level of skills required for success
in graduate and business school varies by field or by
department. Scores for these measures should be
considered independently and should not be combined.
Avoid using cutoff scores when considering applicants
The use of multiple criteria as part of the admissions
process is important, so GRE scores should never be the
sole basis for an admissions decision. To that end, a cutoff
score below which applicants are categorically denied
admission without consideration is not recommended.
Plus, as with all standardized tests, the SEM means the score
may actually be a few points higher or lower than reported —
another reason why using a cutoff score is not advised.
Other resources to help you make the transition to the new score scales
Visit www.ets.org/gre/infocenter to:
• Register for an upcoming webinar, featuring live Q&A session with GRE measurement experts.
• Sign up for our eUpdate newsletter to receive updates and stay informed about the GRE revised General Test.
Plus, go to www.ets.org/gre/scoring to:
• Review concordance tables for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures.
• See percentile ranks for scores in the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing measures.
To learn more about using GRE scores, download the
GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores at www.ets.org/gre/guide.
Learn more about the GRE® revised General Test.
Visit us online at www.ets.org/gre/institutions
Email us at [email protected]
Call the GRE Helpline at +1-609-683-2002
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