Testing for Admissions

Academica’s Top Ten (a great free service provided by Ken Steele) published a summary of articles on the Globe and Mail’s recent “Report on MBA Schools”. It seems that there is some debate about which test is supreme: the GMAT or the GRE. The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admissions Test is the oldest, most commonly known test used for admission purposes, but its ascendancy is being challenged by the Graduate Record Examination. A quick scan of schools websites shows me that schools generally indicate one or the other as being required as part of the admission process. Several schools indicate minimum score requirements as well.

Very few schools allow for both tests. Rather, they specify one or the other. I find that interesting and perhaps even less than customer friendly. Why not allow for both tests to be submitted as part of the application?

Oh, I can hear the reasons now. “It’s not a fair or equal assessment if some students do one test while others do another. You have to compare apples to apples.” Another says, “But we don’t have anyone trained to assess the other test, so this is the one we have expertise in.”

Horse puckey! These are straw men arguments.

First argument rebuttal: every school, every province, every state has unique course and degree requirements reflected on transcripts, yet we accept them. Why not one more test?

Second argument rebuttal: it’s easy to set a minimum standard for each test. You don’t need an expert to do it. Each testing organization provides their recommendations. And you can always ask a colleague what they do.

The real arguments? I bet it’s a case of that old “We’ve never done that before.” It might be, “I don’t want to have to put the work into researching and arguing for this before the admissions committee and senate. What we have works.”

Yes, but it’s just one more little barrier in a raft of barriers that will keep students from applying to your institution.

Just do it already!

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