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Do Health Professions Graduate Programs Increase Diversity by Not Requiring the Graduate Record Examination for Admission?

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PURPOSE: Seeking to increase the diversity of the health care workforce, prominent national commissions have called on health professions graduate schools to deemphasize standardized tests in admissions. Have programs that do not require standardized tests observed an increase in students from under-represented minority groups? METHODS: The websites of the centralized application services for occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, and speech-language pathology programs were reviewed, and programs were identified that do not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admissions. Representatives were then invited to participate in a hypothesis-generating interview. The transcripts were coded using grounded theory to identify emerging themes. STUDY SAMPLE: Faculty and administrators with admissions responsibilities representing 30 graduate programs in the health professions participated. RESULTS: Fewer than one-third of programs in each health profession surveyed do not require the GRE for admission. While test-optional programs attract students who might otherwise not apply to graduate school, the lack of a GRE requirement does not automatically increase the representation of under-represented minority students in the matriculated class. The programs most successful in meeting their diversity goals also engage in deliberate recruitment activities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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