GRE Holds Back Women, Minorities, Says USF Professor


Graduate schools should reduce their reliance on popular standardized tests when considering which students to admit, a professor from the University of South Florida argues.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardize test required by nearly every non-specialized graduate school (specialized schools often have their own exams; business schools have the GMAT, for example). 

 Casey Miller is a professor of physics at the Univeristy of South Florida and co-author of “A Test that Fails,” published Nature in June 2014. Miller argues the GRE is not a good measuring predictor of a student’s success in most graduate programs. Additionally, it’s a primary obstacle for women and minorities, Miller holds, since these groups tend to score lower on standardized tests in the sciences.

“In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin color than of ability and ultimate success,” Miller’s Nature article explains.

Miller himself is applying new standards to the admissions process at the Physics program at USF, directing an admissions process called the Physics Bridge Program, which evaluates students on a number of different, diverse criteria, such as a 30-minute interview. 

“We go through a much more holistic application review,” Miller says. “We’re trying to find the diamonds in the rough.”

Source: Nature.

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