Phaseout of written GRE put on hold

By Michelle Roberts

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Original plans to phase out the written version of a graduate admissions test will be postponed an extra two years until the spring of 1999.

Although both a written version and a computer adaptive version of the Graduate Records Examination are currently available, the written version was scheduled to be eliminated by the test's maker, Educational Testing Service, by 1997.

The computer test differs from the written version in that it adapts to how students respond to each question on the exam. The questions become more difficult or easier depending on whether the student answers the preceding question correctly.

The complete replacement of the written version by the computer version will be postponed to give the testing service more time to develop the computer test and to allow students more flexibility, said Kevin Gonzalez, ETS spokesman.

Postponing the elimination of the written version has nothing to do with a recent controversy about whether the computer test is se- mid

cure, Gonzalez said.

In December 1994, Kaplan Educational Centers brought what Kaplan spokeswoman Melissa Mack said was evidence that questions on the test could be memorized and shared among students because the question pool was not large enough.

By 1999 the GRE will consist of five sections rather than the current three. The test now consists of quantitative, verbal and analytical sections. The two sections will include a second quantitative section and a writing assessment. Gonzalez said individual graduate schools will be able to tailor the new test, requiring students to take the sections the school wants.

Making the written version available for two more years is a good thing, Mack said.

"It (the test) really is a very individual experience. The big thing is to get familiar with the computer test and then decide whether you're comfortable with it," Mack said.

Graduating psychology senior Alethea Stachow said she decided to take the written test after talking to friends about the computer version. She said she liked the written version because she was used to the format.

Stachow thought she was prepared for it because every test she had taken before was in written form.

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