Heartland Institute –
On January 2, 2014, the current GED test will be replaced by a new version fully aligned with Common Core national K-12 benchmarks that costs nearly twice as much and will only be offered on computers.
“This is not about Common Core—this is about jobs and how to be successful in a job and in life,” said C.T. Turner, director of public affairs for GED Testing Services. “The GED tests high school equivalence, but also career pathways. In most states, 50 percent of all available jobs are ‘middle-skill’ jobs – jobs that require some college, but not a BA. We are aligning the GED with the Common Core in order to fulfill the need for those jobs necessary to compete in a global economy. ”
The new test costs approximately $120 per student, which has a dozen states looking for alternatives, as taxpayers often subsidize the test. New York, Montana, and New Hampshire have chosen to switch from GED to another high school equivalency test this year. Eight more states are considering a similar decision, according to the Associated Press.
“Montanans who are looking to improve their economic situation by obtaining a high school equivalency diploma should not have to overcome a significant financial barrier in order to achieve that goal,” said Montana State Superintendent Denise Juneau.
In 2011, the latest statistics available, 690,774 Americans took the GED. The largest percentage of test takers were 19-24 year olds, at 36.7 percent, followed by 16-18 year olds, at 23.4 percent. Though most respondents did not identify their reasons for taking the GED, of those that did, the top three categories involved obtaining admission to a 2-year college (31 percent), technical or trade school (24.6 percent), or four-year college (21.5 percent).
‘A Lot of Uncertainty’
The new test is expected to be more difficult for students to pass, and broad unfamiliarity with it among test preparers has Lee Weiss, director of GED Programs for Kaplan Test Prep , recommending that those who can take the GED before it changes.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty that will come in January 2014,” he said. Among the shifts for students already on the academic edge include moving from five subject areas to four and a new scoring scale.