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Thu Jan 4, 2018, 09:29 AM

ETS "offers" 27 percent pay cut to GRE raters (mostly adjuncts and grad students)

The Educational Testing Service which administers the SAT, the GRE, Advanced Placement tests of various types and several state assessments greeted some of its raters yesterday with an offer: take a 27 percent pay cut or quit your job effective Jan. 31, 2018.

Raters of the Graduate Record Exam were given a week to complete a "survey" that had only those two choices. The roster of GRE raters is made up primarily of the legion of already underpaid adjunct faculty (who often make less than $5,000 per class) and Ph.D. students (who scrape by on stipends of less than $20,000 per year).

The pay rate had been $20.60 per hour and had been that rate since 2008, when it was raised from $20 per hour. Of course, these are contract jobs with no benefits, and it is seasonal work, generally, as the heaviest GRE loads are in the autumn months as students around the world take the test in preparation for spring admissions decisions made by graduate faculty. Raters work shifts of either four or eight hours. In an eight-hour shift, a rater scores approximately 100 written responses.

In my busiest year, while I was adjunct teaching at Colorado State University, I logged close to 100 days of GRE scoring, which grossed about $16,000. Add that to teaching three courses per semester at $4,000 per course ($24,000), that's $40,000 working the equivalent of 1.5 jobs.

I'm lucky now that I have retired from the state of Colorado and collect my pension, and that I live in Iowa, where the cost of living is much less. But I imagine this came as quite a shock to those of us who need this money to get by. Given that we all have advanced degrees and untold experience in educational assessment, it could be demoralizing to see $15 per hour as the industry standard.

One last note: the ETS is a "nonprofit" corporation.

We found this email yesterday, sent at 11:49 a.m. CST, or 12:49 p.m. in Princeton, N.J., where ETS is located:

Dear GRE Rater,

We want to thank you for your commitment to the GRE program. It is through you that GREhas been able to achieve outstanding results and successfully support the academic advancement of so many students. Because you are a current Rater, we would like to make you aware of a change to Rater pay that will be implemented within our ETS Rater workforce.

Effective February 1, 2018 a new standardized pay rate of $15.00 an hour will be established for the GRE and TOEFL programs. This change is being made as part of an effort to bring Rater pay rates for ETS testing programs into closer alignment and to bring us into line with current industry standards.

GRE Raters have two options: you can elect to accept the new standard pay rate of $15.00 per hour and remain a GRE Rater, or you can elect to decline the pay reduction and resign your position as a GRE Rater.

We realize this adjustment will require some consideration on your part. However, we want you to know that we truly value the expertise you bring to scoring GRE responses and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Please let us know which option you select by January 10, 2018 via the link below.

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Reply ETS "offers" 27 percent pay cut to GRE raters (mostly adjuncts and grad students) (Original post)
jayschool2013 Jan 2018 OP
exboyfil Jan 2018 #1
jayschool2013 Jan 2018 #2
mymelody Feb 2018 #3
jayschool2013 Feb 2018 #4
mymelody Feb 2018 #5
mymelody Mar 2018 #6
jayschool2013 Apr 2018 #7
mymelody Apr 2018 #8

Response to jayschool2013 (Original post)

Thu Jan 4, 2018, 09:57 AM

1. If you are willing to give up

on grading, then see if a friendly reporter might want to make a story of it.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 4, 2018, 10:05 AM

2. I have contacted the Chronicle of Higher Education

Waiting for a response.

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Response to jayschool2013 (Original post)

Wed Feb 7, 2018, 11:29 AM

3. Rater

Do you know where current employees are rallying against this other than change.org? I don't expect an answer publicly, although I know we have every right. I would send a direct message, but my account is too new.

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Response to mymelody (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 7, 2018, 02:25 PM

4. I don't know

I also haven't been given any shifts since sending an email to the Chronicle. Probably a coincidence, given the time of year.

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Response to jayschool2013 (Original post)

Tue Feb 13, 2018, 05:36 PM

5. ETS is trying to alter their rating on Glassdoor....


They sponsored a webinar for them, and I can't find any remotely critical articles about ETS on chronicle.com. I signed the petition, like several other raters. Seems like the best thing people are doing is actually writing about what it is like to work with them on Glassdoor. They're totally scrubbing the reviews, though.

For what it's worth, I have been getting shifts with TOEFL. Most of the weeks have been pretty full, but I think other folks who refused to take the "survey" all together are not getting shifts. This is at least what I saw on the change.org petition.

Had I more job stability currently, I would have refused to take the survey, too. Now all I can do is hope they don't decide to retaliate against me for signing a petition, since they clearly are trying to get rid of raters (one way or another.)

If anyone else reading this wants to help, here's the petition. I would greatly appreciate it, and I know everyone else in the TOEFL & GRE programs would.


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Response to jayschool2013 (Original post)

Response to jayschool2013 (Original post)

Wed Apr 4, 2018, 08:38 AM

7. Last-minute shift additions

As an addendum to this change in policy, now that it's implemented:

I was scheduled for zero shifts in both March and April after the traditional period of letting management know when I'd be available for the coming months. In March, I was added for two shifts with less than 72 hours notice (notified March 7 for March 9 shift; notified March 21 for March 24 shift). In April, I have been added for one shift with less than 72 hours notice. I had to decline that shift because I had made plans based on original notices.

So ETS is now Walmart as far as consideration for employees' schedules. But ETS scorers hold in their highly educated hands the future of so many students.

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Response to jayschool2013 (Original post)

Mon Apr 9, 2018, 02:45 PM

8. I think ETS is retaliating in response to worker complaints.

Last edited Wed Apr 11, 2018, 10:46 AM - Edit history (2)

It seems like some other folks have reported a reduction in hours/shifts after complaining publicly or using their real name. It isn't at all surprising. The comments on this Inside Higher Ed article seem to suggest other people have experienced a reduction in shifts after such. I haven't experienced this, but I've also avoided signing petitions or complaining with any account that could be linked to me.

I don't trust these people at all.


On top of that, it appears that they are participating in a practice a lot of tech companies do -- hire a bunch of people on h1b visas -- pay them less (while promising more than probably any of us ever got.) This is easy to find with a search for h1b and educational testing service. I would love to report them.

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