Office of University Assessment

Overview of ETS Proficiency Profile 

The ETS Proficiency Profile is designed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) as a measure of college-level reading, mathematics, writing, and critical thinking in the context of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Colleges and universities across the United States (US) use the test to assess general education outcomes. The ETS test provides invaluable data for accreditation, strategic planning, curriculum improvement, performance-based funding, benchmarking, and for determining “value added" or learning gains.   The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) also uses the test for the College Portrait, which allows stakeholders (i.e. potential students, parents, university systems, accrediting bodies etc.) to access and compare the performance of students on the test from across participating institutions in the US.

Questions on the EPP are multiple choice and are arranged in blocks of three to eight.  Each section tests the same types of skills. This integrated design prevents a particular skill area from appearing all at once or late in the test when fatigue can affect student performance.  The total score on the test is reported on a scale of 400-500.  Seven sub-scores are reported on a scale of 100-130 for each skill area (i.e. Critical Thinking, Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences).  In addition to a total score, institutions receive proficiency classifications (i.e. proficient, marginal or not proficient) for each skill level – identified simply as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 – based on students’ performance taken as a group in each skill dimension.  Please refer to the Proficiency Measures section for a comprehensive overview of each proficiency level, which is defined in terms of competencies expected of students.   Proficiency classifications capture how well students have mastered each skill area. 

Scaled scores are computed by means of a two-stage process.

  • The student's "raw score" is computed by counting the number of questions the student answered correctly (there is no penalty for incorrect guessing).
  • A raw-to-scale conversion table converts the raw score to a scaled score.

The scaled scores are norm-referenced, i.e., intended for comparing individual students with a group and for comparing a group of students with other groups of students.  These comparisons can be entirely within the institution, or they can involve data from other institutions.

Contact Info

659 Ardelia Court
P.O. Box 70600, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Tallahassee, FL 32307

P: 850-412-5265
F: 850-412-5267