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      Beyond the GRE: Using a Composite Score to Predict 
the Success of Puerto Rican Students in a Biomedical 
PhD Program

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          A composite score (CS) using measurable indicators of research aptitude was developed. They compared the CS and the Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) of incoming students with students’ achievement of specific graduate-program milestones. Results showed that the composite score is a better predictor of successful outcomes for this population of biomedical PhD students than the GRE.

          Abstract

          The use and validity of the Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) to predict the success of graduate school applicants is heavily debated, especially for its possible impact on the selection of underrepresented minorities into science, technology, engineering, and math fields. To better identify candidates who would succeed in our program with less reliance on the GRE and grade point average (GPA), we developed and tested a composite score (CS) that incorporates additional measurable predictors of success to evaluate incoming applicants. Uniform numerical values were assigned to GPA, GRE, research experience, advanced course work or degrees, presentations, and publications. We compared the CS of our students with their achievement of program goals and graduate school outcomes. The average CS was significantly higher in those students completing the graduate program versus dropouts ( p < 0.002) and correlated with success in competing for fellowships and a shorter time to thesis defense. In contrast, these outcomes were not predicted by GPA, science GPA, or GRE. Recent implementation of an impromptu writing assessment during the interview suggests the CS can be improved further. We conclude that the CS provides a broader quantitative measure that better predicts success of students in our program and allows improved evaluation and selection of the most promising candidates.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Studying Students Studying Calculus: A Look at the Lives of Minority Mathematics Students in College

           Uri Treisman (1992)
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            A test that fails

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Journal
                CBE Life Sci Educ
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE Life Sciences Education
                American Society for Cell Biology
                1931-7913
                1931-7913
                01 June 2015
                : 14
                : 2
                Affiliations
                *MBRS-RISE Program, , Ponce Health Sciences University and Ponce Research Institute, Ponce, PR 00732
                Department of Biochemistry, Ponce Health Sciences University and Ponce Research Institute, Ponce, PR 00732
                Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Ponce Health Sciences University and Ponce Research Institute, Ponce, PR 00732
                Author notes
                §Address correspondence to: Caroline B. Appleyard ( cappleyard@ 123456psm.edu ).
                Article
                CBE-14-11-0216
                10.1187/cbe.14-11-0216
                4477729
                25828404
                © 2015 W. I. Pacheco et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2015 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®” and “ The American Society for Cell Biology ®” are registered trademarks of The American Society for Cell Biology.

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                June 1, 2015

                Education

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