GMAT Subgroup Validity Study: Frequently Asked Questions

Who will conduct the study and data analysis?

The study will be conducted by the Center for Advanced Studies in Measurement and Assessment (CASMA) at University of Iowa.

What specific data elements will be needed for the study?

The following data are needed for the study, with variables in bold being minimally required.

  • Candidate-level data, including Ethnicity, Race, Gender, Age, Citizenship, native language, Quant vs. non-quant undergraduate major
  • GMAT Scores (Total, V, Q, AWA, IR); GRE or other scores if available; test waiver granted, if any
  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Your program name
  • Mid-Program or core course GPA, final year GPA
  • Type and years of pre-GME degree work experience
  • GME degree completion or graduation
  • Post-GME degree employment, starting salary

How much data will be needed for the study?

This study requires data for students who graduated in Years 2018, 2019, and 2020, and data from multiple years is highly encouraged. Participating schools have two options to submit data.

Option 1: Schools gather and submit a full set of de-identified data for the study in the format laid out in the template:

Option 2: Schools provide a limited amount of personal information (i.e. Unique identifier, First name, Last name, Date of Birth) about students which GMAC would use to match to GMAT records to obtain GMAT scores, self-reported undergraduate GPA, undergraduate major, gender, citizenship, US subgroup, native language, and years of work experience. Once data is matched, names are removed from the data file, which will then be shared with CASMA for analysis.

GMAC and CASMA take data privacy very seriously and handle all submitted data under the strictest regulations. In particular, student data will be combined into a single de-identified file to be analyzed and reported in aggregate. Files across schools and programs will be combined, for more group-level analyses, but will not contain any personally identifiable information. 

When will results be available?

Every participating school will be entitled to access to the results of the full study. GMAC plans to collect data through summer, with early insights anticipated to be shared with participating schools in August and final report with finding shared no later than the end of November 2021. This timeline is contingent upon the assumption that a reasonably sufficient amount of quality data will be collected as planned during the summer of 2021.

Can schools receive an individual validity study report to gain a better understanding of the relevance of the GMAT for their school?

While the study is intended to be an industry-wide study on the relevance of the GMAT (and other tests if provided) for admissions to business schools, we are able to provide a customized individual report for any school that desires this.  The individual customized report will be produced by GMAC while the industry-wide study will be produced by CASMA.  For schools that desire their individual customized report, it is important to note that if the school doesn’t have a sufficient sample of students from any particular sub-group in the data they share with us, we will not be able to comment on the relevance of the GMAT for that particular sub-group of candidates. 

Will the study be able to tell us that GMAT is a better predictor for certain populations and not for others?

Yes, the external study will evaluate the effectiveness of predictors like UGPA and the GMAT  scores (as well as other test scores if provided) across different subpopulations.

Will the study be able to tell us of those who were not admitted, would they have been successful despite their standardized test?

No – we are only collecting the data for admitted students – as we will not have school variables like mid-point GPA and end-course GPA or post-MBA employment salaries for those candidates that applied but were not admitted.

Will the study tell us which factors in admission best predict academic success for specific populations?

Yes – assuming we receive a sufficient sample of data points for these specific populations, the study will inform those factors (based on the data provided) that best predict academic success.  Additionally, please refer to the following webpage to understand how the GMAT is designed to be fair and unbiased. 

How does the study test for bias in the test?

The study will look into the bias issues using the multilevel multivariate modeling.

Is data sharing allowed under FERPA?

In the US, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits educational institutions to disclose personally identifiable information from education records without student consent to “organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests.” (20 U.S.C.A. § 1232g(b)(1)(F); see 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(6)(i)(A).

Can non-US school participate in the study?

Non-US schools are welcome to participate in this study. If you are a non-US school interested in participating, please contact your GMAC representative.