GRE Scores as a Source of Information in UHM ESL Admissions Decisions

Brown, James Dean
Bley-Vroman, Robert
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As part of an ongoing self-evaluation process, the Graduate Faculty of the Department of English as a Second Language (ESL) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) initiated an investigation of the effectiveness of existing departmental admissions decisions for the master's degree program in ESL. A subcommittee (consisting of Drs. Bley-Vroman, Brown, and Crookes) of the Graduate Faculty was appointed to study the issue, and this paper is a result of those efforts. The purpose of this report is to summarize the outcomes of the existing admissions policies over the past five years (1985-1990), examine the effectiveness of those policies, consider alternative courses of action, and recommend new policies if they are deemed necessary. To those ends, the following research questions were framed: 1. What were the descriptive statistics for the variables under consideration in this study? To what degree was the holistic faculty rating scale reliable as applied during 1990? 2. How were the various predictor variables (available at the time of admissions) related to the student's GPR and Faculty ratings (after completing studies in the ESL MA Program)? 3. What were the pre-admissions characteristics of students who were considered successful in the program, as compared to students who were rated as not successful, or rated as average. 4. What would the decision dependability be for various cut-points on the GRE subtests and pre-admissions GPRs in relation to the students' ultimate levels of achievement in the Program? The alpha decision level for all statistical decisions was set at a α < .05.
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