Test Fairness and Score Use
ETS and the GRE® Program have taken steps to ensure, to the extent possible, that tests and test scores are fair for all test takers, regardless of group membership. Guidelines for the use of GRE scores summarize the considerations for appropriate use of GRE test scores and encourage institutions to use GRE scores appropriately. For more information, see the Guidelines for the Use of GRE Scores.
Score Reports Sent to Designated Score Recipients
- Your official institution score report, received by your designated recipients, will include your name, address, email address, phone number, intended graduate major, GRE test scores and associated percentile ranks. It will not include any information concerning the other score recipients you have chosen.
- Institution score reports include only the scores that you selected to send them using the ScoreSelect® option.
- See a sample Institution Score Report.
- If an institution that you have designated to receive your scores requests information in ETS's files be sent to that institution, ETS will send information to those institutions as necessary to detect or prevent unlawful activity and to protect the integrity of the GRE test.
Absence from a Testing Session
If you are absent from a testing session, institutions will not receive any information about your absence or about any previous scores you may have on file.
Preventing Unauthorized Release of Your Scores
Your scores will be reported only to:
- institutions of higher education granting the baccalaureate or higher degrees that you designate
- approved graduate fellowship-granting sponsors that you designate
- vendors the institutions designate to process the scores they receive
Score reports will be released only upon your request. ETS will not release your scores at the request of institutions or fellowship sponsors except for use in research studies that are approved by the GRE Program and that provide anonymity for test takers and the institutions they attend.
Your score record and the documents you completed that are retained at ETS, including photos and documents from check-in on test day, may be released to third parties (e.g., government agencies, parties to a lawsuit) if requested pursuant to a subpoena or applicable laws.
Use of Background Information Data and Performance Data
Your answers to background information questions and your performance data may be used in analysis samples, score interpretation data, group statistics and research studies. In each instance, all identifying information will be removed.
ETS Review of Test Questions
ETS routinely follows extensive review and quality control procedures to detect and avoid flawed questions and consequent errors in scoring. Such procedures include:
- independent reviews by qualified individuals
- feedback from test takers after they have taken the test
- careful analysis of performance data on each question after it has been administered in a test
Nonetheless, occasionally an error may be discovered after scores have been reported. Whenever this happens, we review the specific circumstances carefully and take the corrective action that is most fair to all concerned.
Cancellation of Scores by ETS
Test Security Issues
ETS strives to report scores that accurately reflect the performance of every test taker. Accordingly, ETS's standards and procedures for administering tests have three primary goals: giving test takers equivalent opportunities to demonstrate their abilities, preventing any test takers from gaining an unfair advantage over others, and providing score users with valid scores. To promote these objectives, ETS reserves the right to review questionable test scores which may delay expected score reporting time frames, cancel any test scores with forfeiture of test fees, whether or not it has already been reported, and to take such other actions as ETS deems appropriate, including banning the test taker from taking any future ETS tests and referring the matter to law enforcement authorities and government agencies including but not limited to immigration departments, when, in ETS's judgment, a testing irregularity occurs; there is an apparent discrepancy in a test taker's identification; the test taker may have engaged in misconduct, including without limitation having someone else take the test for them, obtaining improper access to test questions or answers, disclosing test questions or answers to third parties, plagiarism, or copying or communication; or the score is invalid for another reason. ETS reserves the right to share any and all information in its possession about a test taker and the terms and conditions of test taking with (a) any entity which ETS recognizes as an authorized user of test scores, including without limitation any entity to which ETS reports test scores at the test taker's request, and (b) any government agency with responsibility for administration or enforcement of U.S. criminal and/or immigration laws. When ETS cancels a test score that has already been reported, it notifies score recipients that the score has been canceled and may also explain why the score has been canceled. We will provide a copy of the cancellation letter you receive to recipients of your scores.
"Testing irregularities" refers to problems with the administration of a test. Testing irregularities may result from actions of test takers, test center personnel, ETS, or from natural or man-made causes. When testing irregularities occur, they may affect an individual or groups of test takers. Such problems include, without limitation, administrative errors (such as improper timing, improper seating, defective materials [e.g., improper test forms], and defective equipment); improper access to test content; and other disruptions of test administrations (such as natural disasters or other emergencies). When testing irregularities occur, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score. When, in ETS's judgment it is appropriate to do so, ETS gives affected test takers the opportunity to take the test again as soon as possible without charge.
When in ETS's judgment, or the judgment of at home proctors or test center administrators, there is a discrepancy in a test taker's identification, the test taker may be dismissed from the test center. In addition, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score if the documents, your photo or other biometric samples from test day cannot be validated or if ETS has evidence that you did not appear for the test. ETS will also cancel your scores, ban you from taking any future ETS test and notify score recipients of the cancellation if anomalies are detected after your scores have been reported. See Identification Requirements.
When ETS, at home proctors or test center administrators find that there is misconduct in connection with a test, the test taker may be dismissed from the test center, or ETS may decline to score the test, or may cancel the test score. ETS also reserves the right to ban the test taker from taking any future ETS test. Misconduct includes but is not limited to noncompliance with the Test Center Procedures and Regulations. Test takers whose scores are canceled will forfeit their test fees and must pay to take the entire GRE test again at a future administration. No record of the score cancellations, or the reason for cancellation will appear on their future score reports sent to colleges, universities and/or fellowship sponsors.
ETS may also cancel scores if, in its judgment, there is substantial evidence that they are invalid for any other reason. Substantial evidence means evidence that is sufficient to persuade a reasonable person; the substantial evidence standard is lower (i.e., requires less proof) than the reasonable doubt, clear and convincing, and preponderance of the evidence standards. Evidence of invalid scores may include, without limitation, discrepant handwriting, unusual answer patterns and inconsistent performance on different parts of the test. Before canceling scores pursuant to this paragraph, ETS notifies the test taker in writing about its concerns, gives the test taker an opportunity to submit information that addresses ETS's concerns, considers any such information submitted and offers the test taker a choice of options. The options may include voluntary score cancellation, a free retest, a voucher for a future test or arbitration in accordance with ETS's standard Arbitration Agreement. For more detailed information, see Why and How ETS Questions GRE Test Scores.
Note: The retest option is available only to test takers in the United States, U.S. Territories and Canada. The arbitration option is available only to test takers who test in the United States and U.S. Territories.
ETS Use of Personal Information
By providing personal information to ETS and registering for a GRE test, you expressly consent (or confirm your consent) to allow ETS to use such personal information in accordance with ETS's Privacy and Security Policy.
ETS will at all times protect your personal information with operational, administrative, technical and physical security safeguards. Unless your photograph or other biometric samples taken on the day of the test during the check-in or registration process are being used in connection with a test security investigation, ETS shall retain them for a maximum of three years unless local regulations limit retention.
We will keep your information as required to meet the following requirements:
- Protect against fraud, theft and misrepresentation by unauthorized test takers
- Purpose of identity verification
- Maintain integrity of the testing process