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ETS® Proficiency Profile Score Usage

ETS® Proficiency Profile scores are used by more than 500 institutions nationwide to:

  • gauge student learning outcomes of traditional, blended learning and distance learning students
  • meet requirements for accreditation and program funding by measuring and documenting program effectiveness
  • identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve curriculum through the assessment of student proficiency in core academic skill areas
  • compare their own performance against the performance of their peers

Using the Standard Form vs. the Abbreviated Form

Some institutions may choose to use the ETS Proficiency Profile test to assess the skills of individual students. Others may use it to characterize the skills of groups of students, for example, an incoming freshman class or a graduating senior class. In selecting a test to assess general education outcomes, an institution should begin by considering its purpose in wanting to test.

  • How will the test results be used?
  • Is it important to assess the skills of each individual student?
  • Is it sufficient to assess a class of students as a group?

The Abbreviated Form

The Abbreviated form requires only 40 minutes of testing time, but it provides only group information — a set of statistical reports for each group of students, or "cohort" — tested plus some additional information on subgroups of the students determined from the demographic data.

The Abbreviated form is constructed by dividing the Standard form into three parts, and packaging them in alternating sequence so that each part is taken by one-third of the students. The alternating sequence makes it likely that the groups taking the three parts will be similar, particularly if the number of students is fairly large. This sampling technique makes it possible to obtain reliable information about the group even when no individual student answers enough questions to provide reliable individual subscores.

The Standard Form

The Standard form requires two hours of testing time, but it provides scores and proficiency classifications for individual students, in addition to the group information provided by the Abbreviated form. The individual information can be used in advising students and in making decisions about individual students. Students taking the Standard form can also earn a Certificate of Achievement.

Choosing a Form

An institution's decision to use the Standard form versus the Abbreviated form of the ETS Proficiency Profile test will depend mainly on its purpose in testing. An institution must decide whether it is beneficial to give up the individual scores and proficiency classifications provided by the Standard form in exchange for the reduction in testing time offered by the Abbreviated form. As the needs and priorities of a particular institution evolve, the institution can consider switching from one form to another based on the different benefits these different forms offer.

Because the Abbreviated form is derived from the Standard form, the Abbreviated form is also statistically equated to the Standard form — making the scores on each form fully comparable to scores on the other form. The two forms can be used interchangeably and scores from each can be compared with full confidence that they mean the same thing and can be interpreted the same way. This also implies that aggregation of data from both the Standard and Abbreviated forms is possible. However, because subscores and proficiency classifications are not considered adequately reliable at the student level, reports derived from a combination of both Standard form and Abbreviated form test takers only include summary data.

Promotional Links

ETS Proficiency Profile Administrator Portal (Program Workshop)

Order tests, manage test administrations, run reports (for existing customers only)

ETS Proficiency Profile Annual Comparative Data Guide

Compare the performance of your students with those of a large group of students at other institutions.