Humanities Majors’ Mean Graduate Record Examination Verbal and Quantitative Scores, by Discipline, 2004–2007*

* Disciplines Listed by Combined Average, Descending Order. Based on the performance of all examinees who tested from October 1, 2004, to September 30, 2007.
** History, theory, and criticism.
Source: Data provided by the Educational Testing Service at the request of the Humanities Indicators.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a test that most U.S. graduate schools require for admission to their programs, is taken by a nonrepresentative subset of students (those hoping to pursue advanced academic degrees in their fields). The GRE is taken mostly, but not exclusively, by students educated in the United States. For these reasons, GRE scores constitute an imperfect measure of the proficiency of humanities students emerging from U.S. colleges and universities. Nonetheless, the data permit rough comparisons of the level of verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills demonstrated by students of the humanities with those of science and engineering students, as well as among students in different humanities disciplines. The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which develops and administers the GRE, has declined to provide the Humanities Indicators the data necessary to update this indicator. ETS considers the measurement of learning outcomes an inappropriate use of GRE scores (see “GRE: Guide to the Use of Scores” for ETS’s policy regarding the uses for which it will make score information available).
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