Sunday, December 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

GED test overhauled; some states opt for new exam

Pilar Quinn

Pilar Quinn, a volunteer, teaches a GED preparation class at Marist School in Atlanta, Ga., in this Oct. 11, 2012 file photo. The GED test, the high school equivalency exam, is about to undergo some changes. AP photo

By
From page A1 | January 07, 2014 |

By Kimberly Hefling
WASHINGTON (AP) — The GED test, for decades the brand name for the high school equivalency exam, is about to undergo some changes.

An upgraded GED exam and two new competing equivalency tests offered in several states are ushering in a new era in adult education testing.

The GED (General Educational Development) exam was created in 1942 to help World War II veterans who dropped out of high school use college benefits offered under the GI Bill. This will be its first face-lift in more than a decade.

The revamped test is intended to be more rigorous and better aligned with the skills needed for college and today’s workplaces. The new test will be offered only on a computer, and it will cost more. What consumers pay for the test varies widely and depends on state assistance and other factors.

Even before its launch, officials in many states have balked at the cost increase and at doing away with paper-and-pencil testing. At least nine states — New York, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine and West Virginia — severed ties with the GED test and adopted one of the two new tests that are entering the market.

Three others — Wyoming, New Jersey and Nevada — will offer all three. Tennessee will offer the GED test and one other, and other states are expected to decide what to do in the coming months.

That will leave test takers, adult educators and states grappling with new questions: How do you best prepare students for the tests? Which is best, by price and quality? How will the tests be accepted by the military, employers and colleges?

The advent of new tests has sent thousands of test takers rushing to complete sections of the old test they had left incomplete. Once the upgrade happens, the old scores of “partial passers” will no longer be accepted.

“Angst is the good word” to describe this time in adult education, said Lennox McLendon, executive director of the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium.

Marty Finsterbusch, president of ValueUSA, a resource organization for adult learners, said he fears there will be a lot of unintended consequences and he’s worried about adult learners “getting caught up in the crunch of this.” For example, he said, he wonders what will happen to someone who partially passes a test in one state, then moves to another state that doesn’t offer that type of exam.

“The system will work itself out eventually, but how many people are going to get hurt in the meantime?” Finsterbusch said.

More than 700,000 people took the GED test in 2012. The average test taker is about 26, and many people seeking a high school equivalency diploma are poor. Nationally, about 40 million American adults lack a high school education.

The GED test has been owned by the nonprofit American Council on Education since its inception.

Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE, said that when it became clear a new test was needed she wanted it to include materials that would help test takers better prepare for the exam and get linked to resources that would help them plan. To do that ACE enlisted a partner, the for-profit company Pearson Vue Testing. The new test can make results available quickly and collect data that will help teachers better understand how their students did on the exam, so teaching can be adjusted.

The changes to the GED test opened the door for states to begin looking for alternatives, and two vendors responded.

One was Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit that also administers the Graduate Record Examination. It developed a high school equivalency exam called the High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET.

The other was CTB/McGraw-Hill, a for-profit company that is helping states develop assessments of Common Core standards, which put an emphasis on critical thinking and spell out what reading and math skills students should have at each level. It developed a high school equivalency test called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC.

Both say they offer a quality test at a lower price. They also allow their tests to be taken without a computer and are open to accepting the scores of GED test takers who have partially passed the old test that recently expired, as long as their state approves.

Amy Riker, national executive director for HiSET, acknowledged that both new vendors have a lot of work to do to educate people about the new exams.

Broad, from ACE, said she likes the idea of competition and said it “will keep everybody on their toes.”

In Lowell, Mass., Ben Morrison is a GED test instructor at the United Teen Equality Center, which works with former gang members and others doing on-the-job training and GED test preparation. Morrison said that whatever is ahead, his center will adjust its program because the equivalency diploma is critical for the job prospects and self-confidence of the youth it works with.

“We know that having that credential will make our young people more employable,” Morrison said, “so regardless of what test it is that they need to pass to get that credential, I can look at it and pull it apart and figure out how to get them through.”

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Yolo makes hydrogen connection

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AirAsia plane with 162 aboard missing in Indonesia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Sacramento man convicted for 2011 bar shooting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Drugs, stolen car lead to women’s arrests

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    USA Weekend calls it quits

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sweet success: Cancer Center helps young patient celebrate end of treatment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Holiday hours continue at The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Reserve tickets soon for Chamber’s Installation Gala

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UC Davis debate team wins national championship

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Covell Gardens hosts New Year’s Eve dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Portuguese breakfast set for Jan. 25

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    At the Pond: It all started with kayaking on Putah Creek

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Find the first cabbage white butterfly, and win a pitcher

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Does pre-eclampsia raise autism risk?

    By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A6

     
    Long will talk about value of hedgerows for adjacent farms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    It’s a wonderful life — and a wonderful state

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    College sees benefits in loan guarantees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Tickets for New Year’s Eve party going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

     
    It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Say thanks to the caregivers

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Bombing is not the answer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Just Us in Davis: Despair and hope for the new year

    By Jonathan London | From Page: A10

    Commission’s list needs vetting

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rifkin’s statement is offensive

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Writer’s arguments fall flat

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A11

     
    Cuba policy changes highlight a momentous opportunity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    DHS boys get good film in tournament loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Sacramento survives Knicks in OT

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Kings cruise past Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Lady Blue Devils top Tigers to reach Ram Jam title game

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Republic FC to host camp series

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    College bowl roundup: Sun Bowl goes to the Sun Devils

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Kaiser’s trauma center in Vacaville earns verification

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Rob White: Davis tech community is growing

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    First Northern adds Peyret to agribusiness loan team

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Obituaries

    Ruth Allen Barr

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Charles ‘Bud’ Meyer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 28, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8