Mercedes Ross to Present at the 2021 National McNair Conference

Lab member Mercedes Ross will present research investigating the predictive validity of the GRE for earning a PhD in Communication at the 2021 National McNair Conference. This research is funded by a National Communication Association Advancing the Discipline Grant (PI, Richard Huskey, Co-I, Laramie Taylor).

Presentation Title: The Predictive Validity of GRE Scores for Communication Doctoral Students

Presentation Date: 7/29/2021

Presentation Time: 1:20:00 PM Pacific Time

Abstract: The General Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized test used to measure a student’s preparedness for graduate school. Educational Testing Service (ETS) identifies a student’s preparedness as the ability to make a significant scholarly contribution and pass all their graduate courses. Ultimately, the GRE is a tool to distinguish who is ready for graduate school and who is not. The strongest evidence to support validity of the prediction capabilities of the GRE is in the students first year of graduate school, validity after that the evidence is unclear. Minority applicants tend to score lower on the exam than white and Asian applicants and this disparity in scores means that minority applicants are systematically disadvantaged in graduate school acceptance. The aim of our study is to determine if the GRE is a useful tool for predicting graduate school success for Communication students. We are in the process of collecting data on undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, graduation rate, race, age and gender from all the institutions listed in the National Communication Association (NCA) Doctoral Program Guide who grant PhDs in Communication within the United States. Once all the data are gathered, we will assess if the GRE scores predict graduate school success in Communication PhD programs. If the GRE scores prove to be valid predictors of success, then graduate schools should continue to use them. If the GRE is not a good predictor, then graduate schools may be more supportive of minorities by adopting more holistic forms of application review