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Instant gratification: Test scores delivered to UT Austin by Internet

Dr. Teresa Sullivan, vice president and dean of graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin, announced Thursday a significant breakthrough in the use and reporting of standardized test scores.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Teresa Sullivan, vice president and dean of graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin, announced Thursday a significant breakthrough in the use and reporting of standardized test scores.

Earlier this week, for the first time, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) delivered a set of GRE scores to the University of Texas using the Internet as the delivery mechanism. This followed quickly on the heels of similar deliveries of substantial numbers of SAT scores in the same manner. These events are the culmination of five years of work on the part of UT staff, working in conjunction with ETS, to make it possible for U.S. institutions of higher education to receive test scores via this medium, avoiding the month-long waits and technological hassles of tape or paper delivery.

“As a University that is known for its commitment to state-of-the-art technology, this is a triumph for UT Austin. We are using technology in innovative and practical ways to make the application and admissions processes more efficient,” Sullivan said.

Dave Stones, director of the UT Model Admissions Program, working in conjunction with his colleagues at other institutions and the TOEFL Technology Committee, chaired by Dr. William Paver, assistant dean of graduate studies and associate director of admissions for UT Austin, persuaded ETS that investing in score reporting would benefit institutions, students and the testing service.

Internet score reporting will make it possible for scores to be sent to institutions on a daily or weekly basis and will eliminate the delays we experienced with interval reporting on tape or paper. This innovation also means that ETS will have the capacity to deliver applicants’ test scores much earlier than in the past and applicants’ files can be evaluated and referred to departments for decisions more quickly.

In addition to streamlining the admissions process at the University, it also will help cut costs administratively by supporting the electronic matching of test scores to student records and eliminating the need to have clerical staff entering individual test scores manually. It no longer will be necessary to load magnetic tapes or to work with paper test scores, and errors associated with data entry will be eliminated. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) also will experience considerable savings through reduced printing and mailing costs.

In his oversight role of graduate admissions at UT Austin, Associate Dean Rick Cherwitz sees this innovation as consistent with UT Austin’s larger commitment to professionalism and progress. “We have been working on this issue for several years, and are excited to be able to midwife progress and eliminate bureaucracy in testing, reporting and admissions.”

Dave Stones also has been deeply involved in the establishment and work of the National Standards Council, which was developed to standardize the electronic transmission of academic information. The University of Texas had been instrumental in developing standards and processes for the exchange of transcripts. These methods to send test scores electronically are the logical next step. Due to the encouragement and direction of the TOEFL Technology Committee both ETS and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) have joined in this national effort.

“Internet score reporting will save money for the testing service and colleges and universities and offers benefits to both applicants and the institutions which will receive scores in this improved format. Much of the impetus for this successful national effort originated at UT,” Cherwitz concluded.