November 30, 2012
Beginning January 1, 2014, students wanting to take their GED will find a harder, revised exam, and will have to pay more to be able to take it. The new exam has been redone to better reflect core curriculum taught in high school but will also only be available by computer and no longer on paper, according to the Herald Online.
The revisions were spearheaded by the American Council on Education, creator of the GED, in conjunction with private test-maker Pearson. The two companies merged, which helped to create the revenue and resources to revamp the test, reported NPR.
As a result, students will find more in-depth and rigorous questions on the test, some that should reflect the career training and preparedness skills now being offered in high school. The new version will also be streamlined into four tests -- language arts, math, science, and social studies -- versus the current five, which include reading and writing, according to The Alpena News.
"The whole nature of the test is changing," said David Stout, South Carolina's adult education director, in the Herald Online. He added that the GED "has to mirror what's going on in regular school or we'll be left behind, and it won't be worth the paper it's printed on."
Because all existing test scores taken before that date will expire, students who have only completed a portion of the exam will need to start over, The Alpena News noted. For that reason, students who've begun or are close to finishing should try to complete the test by the end of the year.
According to NPR, the cost of the new exam will vary from state to state but should increase across the board. Currently, in Connecticut, the fee is $60, but will jump to $120. In South Carolina, the fee will increase from $80 to $150, or cost $30 per section, the Herald Online noted.
Students, however, can pay for and take one component at a time. GED centers throughout the U.S. likely will offer financial assistance to exam takers in need. However, the increased cost is a concern to Toni Walker, Connecticut state representative, as told to NPR.
"It is going to be prohibitive… People come here with pennies and nickels, bringing us change to pay for their GED," she said, referring to the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center. "So it's going to be a class issue. People who have no money will never be able to actually take the GED."
Another worry is shutting out students who are older and may have never used a computer or simply don't have familiarity with how to use one. As a result, some states are investigating in other options. New York, for example, plans to contract with a company that can create an alternative exam.
Compiled by Doresa Banning
"Educators Worry Revamped GED Will Be Too Pricey," npr.org, November 28, 2012, Diane Orson
"Revised tests for GED," thealpenanews.com, November 27, 2012, Emily Siegmon
"South Carolinians prepare for tougher GED," heraldonline.com, November 24, 2012, Shawn Cetrone