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The GRE can not identify students who graduate and affect diversity



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Researchers urge universities in the United States to find a new way to identify the next generation of scientists. A new study found that traditional admission metrics for physics, Ph.D. Programs such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) do not predict graduation and affect the growth of diversity in physics, which is already the least diverse of sciences.

A research team led by the Rochester Institute of Technology Professor and Deputy Dean of Research and Faculty Casey Miller conducted a multivariate statistical analysis of about one in eight physics PhD students. Students from 2000 to 201

0 and published the results in Science Advances . They found that women and underrepresented minorities tend to fare worse in the GRE Physics Subject Test, but the students' performance had no impact on the doctorate. Completion. The GPA program was the most robust predictor of Ph.D. Completion they found. Miller said this was the largest study ever conducted in physics, specifically looking at correlations between intake data and graduate-level outcomes.

"said Miller." That's a big deal, because the test is used in a large part of the Ph.D. programs in the US and they are used with an acceptable minimum value. First, if it is meaningless, its use makes no sense. The second problem is that, like all standardized tests, the test has significant gender and racial differences. If you use an acceptable minimum score for a tool with racial and gender differences, fewer women from all races and underrepresented minorities of all gender identities will get into doctoral programs, even though the instrument is ineffective to tell us who will end it. "

According to studies, fewer than 5 percent of physics graduates are awarded annual degrees to people who identify themselves as blacks, Latinos or Native Americans, and only 20 percent of physicists with a doctorate degrees." Miller said to Closing the void would require universities to develop better ways of assessing the non-academic factors that make a successful doctorate.

"When you ask the faculty, the most important things that make a great student are not "Cognitive things like stamina and sand that we do not measure now," said Miller. "One of my goals is to develop an assessment of such capabilities for the front end of the regulatory process. The benefit of this is that decades of research into such measures has not shown any significant racial or gender differences in performance. "


Explore further:
Better than GRE in predicting success in STEM areas

Further information:
Casey W. Miller et al. Typical Physics Ph.D. Admission criteria limit access to underrepresented groups, but do not predict completion of the doctorate Science Advancces (2019). DOI: 10,1126 / sciadv.aat7550

Magazine Reference:
Scientific advances

Provided by:
Rochester Institute of Technology


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