Graduate programs at Ithaca College are preparing for a restructured version of the Graduate Record Examination, a graduate entry test offered by Education Testing Services. The test, commonly referred to as the GRE, will have different questions, a different scoring system and a new format in August.
The new scoring report will better reflect the skills students need for graduate school, according to ETS, a non-profit organization that distributes standardized tests.
Richard Schissel, graduate chair of the speech-language pathology graduate program, said when deliberating a new candidate for his program, the graduate committee looks at the GRE score but also weighs in GPA and letters of recommendation from faculty.
“[We] definitely rely on the GRE for deciding a strong application,” Schissel said.
Caryanne Keenan, a career counselor at the college’s Career Services Office, said most students applying for graduate school would be affected by the changes.
“This will impact a great number of students,” she said. “[The GRE] is for any major outside the medical school, law school and business.”
The computerized test measures a student’s ability in verbal reasoning, analytical writing and quantitative reasoning. The new scoring for the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections are based on a 130-170 scale, scored in one-point increments, as compared to the original scale of 200-800, scored in 10-point increments.
Keenan said these changes are meant to allow admission offices a more straightforward way to view scores.
Of the college’s 14 graduate programs, four require the GRE for admission: speech-language pathology, teaching students with speech and language disabilities, sport management and exercise and sport. Other programs look at scores but do not require them.
Jeffrey Ives, graduate chair of the exercise and sport sciences graduate program, said the GRE helps discern if a candidate is well-rounded.
“It is never a good thing if there is a test result that is highly weighed towards one section and not the other,” Ives said.
ETS has posted preparatory materials for the new exam on the GRE website.
Still, new or old, the GRE has critics. Senior Serena Lolgo plans on taking the GRE in November, and said she hopes schools will look at more than just numbers when choosing students.
“I remember taking the SAT and thinking I was done with standardized testing,” she said. “It is frustrating that they are still looking at us in that quantifiable way.”