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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Testmaker delays launch of Internet-based GRE

    Both students and UA officials are welcoming the delayed launch of a new testing method for the graduate school entrance exam, but the problems posed by the switch have yet to be resolved.

    The Educational Testing Service announced last month that the format change of the Graduate Records Examination from a paper- and computer-based test to an Internet-based test will occur in fall 2007 instead of October 2006.

    Most UA graduate and professional programs require students to take the GRE for admission, said Margaret Savko, program coordinator for the Testing Office.

    “”We’re all very happy about the delay,”” Savko said.

    One reason for her relief is that the Testing Office in its current state would not be able to handle student demand for the test once it changes to an Internet-based version.

    Another ETS test, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, recently switched to an Internet-based version.

    Since then, the Testing Office has had to limit the number of times and seats available for the TOEFL because the Internet-based tests have fixed administration dates determined by ETS, Savko said.

    The Testing Office only has seven computers available for administering Internet-based tests, she said.

    Savko said the Testing Office will probably not be able to accommodate the number of students who want to take the GRE, which ranges from 1,500 to 1,600 students each year, unless the Testing Office is able to get more computers with which to administer the test.

    Savko said she hopes ETS will offer more test administration dates than the 30 that are offered for the TOEFL annually.

    Yaniv Fituci, a media arts senior, said he’s glad he will be able to bypass the changes to the GRE. He said he plans to take the test in spring 2007 so he can attend a film and television production graduate program.

    “”It doesn’t sound like the changes will make it any easier for students,”” Fituci said.

    Fituci said he expects most standardized tests to switch to Internet-based versions to cut down on cheating and to make test results more immediate.

    “”I’d rather take the test on paper than on a computer,”” said Rebecca Myren, a psychology junior, “”It’s what I’m used to, and it’s easier than looking at a screen.””

    Myren plans to take the test to attend a graduate nursing program.

    The Internet version of the GRE will also include some changes that may be less desirable to students planning to take the test, said Matt Fidler, the GRE program manager for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

    Fidler said the Internet-based version of the test will be longer and more expensive to take than the current versions of the test.

    He said the delay of the Internet version of the GRE is a good thing for students planning to take the test next year because they can plan ahead to decide which test they want to take.

    Fidler said he believed ETS was not ready to switch to the Internet-based version of the test because there aren’t enough testing stations to meet demand for the test.

    According to the ETS Web site, the organization plans to add thousands of testing sites around the world over the next two years to increase availability of the Internet-based test.

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