As the Chair-Elect of the GRE Board and a Grad School dean, I want to encourage everyone to remind their graduate admission committee members to view and use GRE scores as only one component of a student's overall application package. 

GRE is clear that the scores, on their own should not be used as the basis for a decision (see Guidelines for the use of GRE Scores (
to explicitly encourage holistic application review. These guidelines state:

Regardless of the decision to be made, multiple sources of information should be used to ensure fairness and to 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 and professional experience related to proposed graduate study. A cut-off score (i.e., a minimum score) should never be used as the only criterion for denial of admission or awarding of a fellowship.

Use of multiple criteria is particularly important when using GRE scores to assess the abilities of educationally disadvantaged applicants, applicants whose primary language is not English and applicants who are returning to school after an extended absence. Score users are urged to become familiar with factors affecting score interpretation for these groups. See the GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores (PDF) for more information.​"

Please encourage colleagues on graduate admissions committees to view GRE scores as only one component of the total application package.

Those interested in some of the psychometric research associated with the GRE General Test might be interested in:



On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 11:09 PM, Glenn Dolphin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The GREs might be a factor, but I would look at this study to see that it is not the only factor (and maybe not even the biggest).

Researchers sent identical application letters to over 6500 professors asking for graduate support. The only difference was the names on the letters were created to be obviously ethnic. What they found? It is not hard to guess. White males much more often received positive responses. Women and and other minorities (including Asians) were much less likely to receive positive responses. There was also a higher bias in STEM than in the humanities.

We've got a ways to go, yet.

Best, Glenn

Glenn Dolphin, PhD
Tamaratt Teaching Professor
University of Calgary
Department of Geoscience
Earth Science 118
2500 University Drive NW,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4

[log in to unmask]

From: Julie Libarkin [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2015 3:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Graduate student admission time...


I am sure the rest of you are also either encouraging your undergraduates in their graduate school applications or reviewing applications to your programs (or both). Every year I have to argue with my colleagues about the value of the GRE as a predictive measure of graduate student success. I found this NATURE article published in the summer of 2014, and thought some of you might be interested. I really appreciated the authors' discussion of diversity and STEM, and the role the GRE may be playing in limiting diversity. 

I would love to hear other people's take on this and experiences, as well.

Happy New Year!

Julie Libarkin
Associate Professor
Director - Geocognition Research Lab
Michigan State University
288 Farm Lane, 206 Natural Science
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-355-8369

Affiliations: Center for Integrative Studies in General Science, Department of Geological Sciences, Cognitive Science Program, Environmental Science and Policy Program, CREATEforSTEM

Dr. Jacqueline E. Huntoon, PhD, PG
Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Michigan Technological University
411A Administration Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Email: [log in to unmask]
Voice: 906.487.2327
Fax: 906.487.2284