• Robinson W. Fulweiler

    Robinson W. Fulweiler is a College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment and of biology; she can be reached at rwf@bu.edu.? Profile

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There are 7 comments on POV: BU Should Join the GRE Exit

  1. The GRE may be a poor predictor of success, but it can be a good predictor of failure. In my experience, low GRE scores, especially in math or analytical writing, portend poorly for a candidate’s ability to handle mathematical courses. There are no studies on this, because students with low scores are rarely accepted into relevant programs.

    On a meta-level, this point of view is part of a greater societal effort to divorce objective measures of merit from admissions. This is the antithesis of good science, and it will certainly hurt academic quality in the sciences and engineering.

    1. Then shouldn’t it at least be reprimanded and revoked at the very least to non-engineering/science fields. But even so couldn’t you look towards a students course work in correspondence;onding classes, are design an exam for the specific field of study to better gauge the students ability rather than having them be judged on non-related subjects? Obviously this isn’t a perfect rebuttal or substitution, but I still feel like the GRE in any field or subject does cost many people too much time and money and is not worth the little gained knowledge from someones score. I just think we could create for effective “measurements” and ways to “predict” success that isn’t the GRE.

      1. While it may not be an indicator of a students academic ability, I do think that the GRE is an indicator of a students ability to organize themselves and execute a study plan. A good GRE score is the outcome of planning, study, and concentration. These skills are not directly measured in other aspects of the student’s application.

        1. Except their grades, research, extracurricular activities, personal statements, references, and interviews… All of which are included in a student’s application and all of which are a stronger reflection of the student’s abilities, interests, passion, and capability.

          The only appeal of the GRE is that it “attempts” to “standardize” “intelligence”. I agree with the author that admitting students without a standard presents real challenges, but that adhering to an arbitrary standard creates more problems. As stated, the GRE is a better predictor of race/sex (and without even looking, I’m sure income as well), than academic ability.

          The solution is to accept this challenge and use these more student-specific components of the application to evaluate their suitability for a program.

  2. I would like to echo Ari’s concern. It is really depressing to interact with with a grad student who nod their head in agreement when a technical argument is made, only to realize later that they missed the point because of very basic gaps in their analytic background. If one wants to really get universities to a better place, one should scrap the US News and World Report rankings, “protection” for superstar faculty, have lecturers more involved with research, and tone down the role of administrators as king makers. The university would then be a much more collegial place and it would be less likely that students would be admitted based on the recommendations of charismatic faculty. Only then would it make sense to scrap standardized tests like the GRE.

  3. During the #ShutDownSTEM strike last summer, I read BU Professor Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to be an Antiracist. In his book, he makes clear and cogent arguments against the use of GRE scores in graduate admissions: Private companies offer expensive classes that literally guarantee higher scores if you pay and take those classes. Those classes were not offered near Prof. Kendi’s college (a Historically Black University), so he had to travel to a nearby, mostly white, college to take them. These racial barriers to resources that guarantee higher scores, both the cost barrier and the geographic barrier, inevitably lead to systematically racist results in graduate admissions. I agree with Prof. Fulweiler that we should not consider GRE scores in admissions. I would also point out, however, that the GRE is not a University requirement or even a GRS requirement, so it is not something they can “drop”. Within GRS, use of GRE scores varies by department, and each department can internally vote on whether to consider GRE scores or not. The University or GRS could, in principle, ban the use of GREs by departments, but that is a different action than “dropping” the GRE.

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