Percentage of Graduate Record Examination Analytic Writing Scores at Each Competency Level, by Examinee’s Field of Undergraduate Study, 2004–2007*

* Fields Listed by Percentage of Examinees Scoring 4.5 or Better, Descending Order. Based on the performance of all examinees who tested from October 1, 2004, to September 30, 2007.

Source: Data provided by the Educational Testing Service at the request of the Humanities Indicators.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which develops and administers the Graduate Record Exam (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). According to ETS, a test-taker scoring 4.5–5.0: “provides generally thoughtful analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically sound reasons and/or well-chosen examples; is generally focused and well organized; uses sentence variety and vocabulary to convey meaning clearly; and demonstrates good control of sentence structure and language usage, but may have minor errors that do not interfere with meaning.” The 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.
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