Traversing the Bumpy Road to Creating an Age-Friendly University - GRE and Agism
ASU and the Age Friendly University
In the fall of 2013, I decided to go back to graduate school in social and cultural pedagogy. Arizona State University has the first such program in the US, and I my area of interest was to encourage education for older adults entering their “third age”. While I thought that I would find few others interested in this topic, I was elated to find out shortly after enrolling that Arizona State University had the prior November committed to joining a global initiative committed to the idea of developing Age-Friendly Universities. Over the next two years, I focused my work and research on the Osher Lifelong Institute at ASU, who was spearheading the efforts for the university and collaborating the efforts among universities. The director of Osher, Dr. Rick Knopf became my mentor and gently (at first) began suggesting that I really should be considering going on for my PhD in Community of Resource Development, which is at the forfront of ASUs participation in AFU. In Fall, 2014, I took the 1st required course in their PhD program, more to prove to myself than anyone else that at 62, I could still keep up with PhD students. I received an A in the course and with the strong support of Dr. Knopf, I applied to the PhD program to continue my work with how lifelong learning can positively impact older adults and the how this can build stronger communities and for society. I felt like I was in the right place at the right time, and that I could make a significant contribution.
But I won’t be entering the PhD program in the fall, because I have refused to RETAKE the GRE, a test I believe has little correlation to my ability to
perform in graduate school, and whose basic format is extremely ageist.
Many would say that since I have refused to retake the GRE, it is my own fault that I am not being admitted into the program, and at some level, I agree. However, if universities truly want to be Age-Friendly, they have to be more flexible to alternative students in admission criteria and recognize that older students bring other strengths to their graduate programs.
Let me tell you what I believe that Requiring (with no options for waiver) a GRE within the last 5 years is agiest.
what other departments do
What does GRE measure?
ETS is a private non-profit organiation, that are tax-exempt and there for
As ETS is a private non-profit organization, they are tax-exempt and there is very little transparency to their cost structure has they are not obliged to publish their annual report. Educational Testing Services (ETS), founded in 1947 and headquartered in Lawrence Township, New Jersey USA, is the world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization
ETS concedes “[T]he limitations of graduate school admissions tests in the face of the complexity of the graduate education process have long been recognized…[the] critical skills associated with scholarly and professional competence…are not currently measured by graduate admissions tests.”1
1 Enright, M. K. & Gitorner, D. (1989). Toward a description of
successful graduate students. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
n a Yale University review of the GRE’s predictive ability for graduate students in its psychology department, test scores explained only 3% of the difference in grades during the first two years of study.4 The predictive power of the exam dropped to 1% when more comprehensive measures of performance (e.g. overall faculty ratings of the quality of students’ performance and faculty evaluations of dissertation work) were considered. In fact, the correlation between GRE scores and graduate performance was negative for women in Yale’s graduate psychology program.
At the University of Texas, one study showed that the GRE is not a valid predictor of success for the Graduate School of Social Work as measured by grades, degree completion, and fieldwork quality. Researchers concluded that eliminating the GRE from the selection process would not lead to lower quality students but would “open opportunities for many other individuals of professional quality.”5
Researchers at Bowling Green State University hypothesized that individuals with high GRE scores would complete a graduate program in geology at a faster rate than their lower-scoring peers. Findings from the study revealed the opposite: high-scoring students took longer to complete the degree. Furthermore, undergraduate grades proved to be a better predictor of completing the geology graduate program than did test scores.6
2 Educational Testing Service. (1998). GRE Guide to the Use of Scores, 1998-1999. Princeton, NJ.
3 Morrison, T. & Morrison, M. (1995). A Meta-Analytic Assessment of the Predictive Validity of the Quantitative and Verbal Components of the Graduate Record Examination with Graduate Grade Point Averages Representing the Criterion of Graduate Success. Educational and Psychological Measurement, v. 55 (no. 2) pp. 309-316.
4 Sternberg, R. & Williams, W. (1997). Does the Graduate Record Examination Predict Meaningful Success in the Graduate Training of Psychologists? American Psychologist, v. 52 (no. 6), pp. 630-641.
5 Milner, M., McNeil, J. & King, S.W. (1984). The GRE: A Question of Validity in Predicting Performance in Professional Schools of Social Work. Educational and Psychological Measurement, vol. 44, pp. 945-950.
6 Onasch, C. (1994). “Undergraduate Grade Point Average and Graduate Record Exam Scores as Predictors of Length of Enrollment in Completing a Mater of Science Degree.” ERIC Document No. 375 739.
ETS (Educational Testing Service): The $1 billion-a-year nonprofit pays its directors for-profit salaries. Outgoing president Kurt Landgraf received $1.3 million in total compensation in 2013. ETS has lobbied against legislation to require agencies to “immediately initiate an investigation” after complaints on “inadequate” testing conditions. It also lobbied against a bill designed to safeguard pupil data in subcontracting. ETS has also developed guidelines for tests which explicitly ban any mention of evolution and global warming.
What does the GRE measure?
How this is agism
5 year retake limit
What does the GRE show