A fee increase of 3.9 percent was seen in the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), which is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for a majority of graduate schools in the United States and Canada.
ETS is the agency that administers the GRE examinations for institutions worldwide. Alberto Acereda, Executive Director of Higher Education at the Global Education Division, Educational Testing Service (ETS) said some graduate programmes are evaluating their admission processes to ensure that their processes and practices are fair to applicants and are effective in helping them identify which candidates are the right fit.
Acereda also pointed out that their competitors are also raising their prices. “The cost of the exam increased by 3.9 percent and is $213. In contrast, our competitors have raised the cost of their online exam – from $200 to $250 to reflect the price of their tests in testing centres,” said Acereda. He added that the cost increase for the exam was because ETS reviews test fees worldwide regularly and adjust fees when necessary.
According to him, it is unavoidable for ETS to occasionally increase its fees because of increased costs, including the introduction of local taxes.
During the coronavirus pandemic, a few universities in the US are expected to waive off the requirement of GRE for 2020. This is to make the admission process simpler for international students during the pandemic. As of now, Acereda said, ETS is working with deans, faculty members, and admissions officers to better understand what services can be provided.
Currently, the academic community is in a debate about the necessity of standardised tests as a requirement to get admission into higher education courses. Although, Acereda argued that these test scores give useful information about the applicants such as their critical skills which will be required for success in their graduate study. Furthermore, they serve as the only research-based, objective measurement of the applicant among much other subjective information.
“But over the years and against ETS’s urging, many graduate programmes came to over-rely on test scores as an easy way to make quick decisions. They disregarded other pieces of information to the detriment of candidates who perhaps had many other qualities that the programme would consider important. And the resultant process was less fair,” Acereda added.
Along with university classes, standardised tests such as GRE have also gone virtual due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Taking the health and safety of the students into consideration, ETS has also brought a remote solution of the GRE Test that will also employ multiple security measures. This solution will use both real-time human monitoring and AI technology. Acereda said that the at-home test has the same content, format and scoring as the one taken at a test centre.