Bias, Fairness, and Validity in Graduate-School Admissions: A Psychometric Perspective

Sang Eun Woo, James M. LeBreton, Melissa G. Keith, Louis Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


As many schools and departments are considering the removal of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) from their graduate-school admission processes to enhance equity and diversity in higher education, controversies arise. From a psychometric perspective, we see a critical need for clarifying the meanings of measurement “bias” and “fairness” to create common ground for constructive discussions within the field of psychology, higher education, and beyond. We critically evaluate six major sources of information that are widely used to help inform graduate-school admissions decisions: grade point average, personal statements, resumes/curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, interviews, and GRE. We review empirical research evidence available to date on the validity, bias, and fairness issues associated with each of these admission measures and identify potential issues that have been overlooked in the literature. We conclude by suggesting several directions for practical steps to improve the current admissions decisions and highlighting areas in which future research would be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-31
Number of pages29
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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