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Do I Have to Take the GRE for a Master's Degree?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a screening test that master's and doctoral degree programs have used to evaluate applicants since 1936. It consists of three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning, takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete, and covers questions in the areas of algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary.

The GRE Loses Favor

While thousands of graduate schools have routinely accepted the GRE General Test, controversy surrounding the test has resulted in a number of schools discontinuing its acceptance.

Although the GRE tests were thought to be accurate predictors of student performance in graduate school, they have recently faced criticism for their lack of predictive value. In addition, the tests were determined to be vulnerable to cheating in 1994 and the scoring algorithm was found to be insecure.

A significant overhaul completed in August 2011 resulted in a test which adapts section by section. The difficulty of each section is based on the test-taker's performance in previous sections.

Even with the updates, questions continue to arise about the GRE. Robert J. Sternberg, a cognitive psychologist and professor of human development at Cornell University compared taking the GRE to taking a cancer test that was invented in the 1940s. "Most of us wouldn't have confidence in the results from a cancer test developed then," he said. "We have more knowledge and a far better understanding of intelligence and ability now."

Concerns About the GRE

Science magazine reported in May of 2019 that "a wave of graduate programs" have dropped the GRE application requirement stating, "In response to recent studies showing little correlation between GRE scores and success in graduate school and concern that the test puts underrepresented groups at a disadvantage, a growing number of programs are dropping the GRE as an application requirement."

Some doctoral programs give students the option of submitting GRE scores. The Science magazine article also reports recent studies that showed no correlation between GRE scores and the number of first-author papers the students published or how long it took them to complete their degree. And while some students with higher GRE scores tended to get better grades in their first semester courses, the scores did not predict "which students passed their qualifying exams or graduated, how long they spent in the program, how many publications they accrued, or whether they received an individual grant or fellowship."

Chemical & Engineering News reported similar concerns. According to C&E News, about a half million people take the GRE General Test each year. However, high costs and poor predictive value of success in graduate schools is leading some chemistry departments to drop the test from their admission requirements.

C&E News reports that the trend for graduate programs to drop the GRE as a criterion, is known on social media as #GRExit. In addition, many schools are pointing out that, on average, women and underrepresented minorities do not perform as well on the exam as white men do. As schools continue to make diversity a priority, the GRE can put these applicants at a disadvantage.

In the fall of 2019, Princeton University reported that 14 of its graduate programs eliminated the GRE test requirement. Renita Miller, associate dean for access, diversity and inclusion for the graduate school, said "Princeton wants to make it easier for students from all backgrounds to apply for graduate study." Zemer Gitai, professor of molecular biology at Princeton, said that studies which suggest that GRE scores aren't the presumed indicators of graduate school success led Princeton to make the GRE optional for admission to several of its programs.

An Additional Concern

Victoria Clayton of The Atlantic reports a hidden cost of the GRE: pricey prep courses. While the test is only a few hundred dollars, prep courses can cost thousands of dollars. And students who do not or cannot invest in a prep course often do not score as well as those who can afford the time and money to invest in them.

Emporia State University's Policy on the GRE

None of the online master's degree programs in education at Emporia State University require the GRE for admission. Listed here are the requirements requested at the time of application to each degree program:

Admission requirements for the Master of Science in Educational Administration include having a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.75 or higher in the last 60 hours of study, or an overall GPA of no less than 3.0 for a completed master's degree. A current state-issued teaching license or other relevant professional license is also required. Kansas applicants are encouraged to have a minimum of three years of teaching experience when they apply, with five years of teaching experience required by the state, to be eligible for the administrative license. Applicants are encouraged to check professional experience requirements outlined by their state licensing organizations, as well. No GRE is required for this program.

There are four Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction online programs at Emporia State University: Curriculum Leadership PreK-12, Effective Practitioner PreK-12, Instructional Coach/Teacher Leader PreK-12, and National Board Certification PreK-12. Admission requirements for each include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.75 or higher in the last 60 hours of study, or an overall GPA of no less than 3.0 for a completed master's degree. The GRE is not required for any of these programs.

Note that Emporia State University's Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction – National Board Certification PreK-12 requires both a teaching license and teaching experience of students seeking National Board Certification.

All online students must also complete an ID verification form.

Learn more about Emporia State University's online degree programs in education.


Sources:

Educational Testing Service: About the GRE General Test

Science: A Wave of Graduate Programs Drops the GRE Application Requirement

Chemical & Engineering News: Is There a Future for the GRE?

Princeton University: Princeton Eliminates GRE Test Requirement for 14 Graduate Programs

The Atlantic: The Problem With the GRE

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