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Tue, Nov. 7th, 2006, 01:50 pm
GREdes

I’m taking a whole lot of statistics this semester in order to certify to do my dissertation, which has mostly turned out to be more interesting than I’d expected.  I likes the math!

It just went from randomly interesting to absolutely fascinating, though, as my Psychological Measurement professor just started ranting about his research on the GRE.  He’s interested in how they grade the written section.  Evidently they have one human and one machine rater rate your essay - and he’s got a whole bunch of rules for getting a high score out of the machine.  It’s hardly rocket science: use big words, write at length, include lots of punctuation and subordinate clauses, etc.  But it’s interesting to know that it’s a significant influence on the score you’ll get out.  On the human end, raters tend to score hand-written essays higher than the typed versions, so if you feel you need an edge, practice your handwriting!
Evidently he’s got a couple of papers on the topic; if I track them down I’ll post links here.  He’s just applied for a grant to get access to something like the last ten years of GRE scores, so I’m quite curious what his research will turn up.