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Cornell department drops test requirement in order to boost diversity

Test is reportedly ‘biased against women and underrepresented minorities’

A department at Cornell University has dropped a testing requirement as part of its admittance policy in order to boost the department’s diversity. The division joins numerous other departments at the school who have scrapped the test.

The university’s Biomedical Engineering department “will no longer require GRE scores for admission to its graduate field of study,” The Cornell Daily Sun reports. The test is “a poor predictor of success at graduate school,” Director of Graduate Studies Jan Lammerding stated, claiming that the department eliminated the requirement in part because they see themselves as “advocates for promoting diversity and improving access to graduate education.”

The test is allegedly “biased against women and underrepresented minorities,” The Sun reports, with those demographics “perform[ing] worse on GRE tests despite being equally competent in other areas.”

The department will use several other metrics to determine admittance, The Sun states:

Starting this fall, GRE scores will be left out of the consideration of all applications to the BME graduate program. Instead, the admission will focus more on research experience, letters of reference and the overall academic transcript, among other requirements. In particular, it will examine how much students have utilized opportunities available to them, Lammerding said.

“We recognize that if students live in a rural area and attend a small school or a major state school with limited research opportunities, they have different options than people who attend Cornell or MIT,” he said. “It would be unfair to directly compare them.”

Lammerding added that the department plans to “focus on a more holistic admission review process.”

Read the report here.

MORE: Universities offer ‘cultural diversity scholarships’

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