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GED test changing

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The GED test is changing, and officials who administer it locally want to make sure those who are nearly finished getting their high school equivalency do so before the changes take effect Jan. 1.

The new GED test will be taken on a computer instead of using paper and pencil. The test itself will be more rigorous and will cost more — $120, according to an Associated Press report.

That’s more than twice the current $58 cost, said Stacey Wright, West Piedmont regional adult education program manager. Scholarships will be available to help cover the cost, she said.

However, Wright stressed that those who already have begun testing and who have only a few tests left should make a point to finish before Dec. 31. Tests cover writing, natural sciences, social studies, reading and math.

“Any scores that are incomplete or any scores that are non-passing” will not be transferred to the new tests after Dec. 31, said Wright, who serves Martinsville, Henry, Patrick and Franklin counties, as well as Danville and Pittsylvania County.

“People have been testing like crazy for this last round,” and local testing centers are focused on helping people finish their exams before the Dec. 31 deadline, she said.

“People need to get in right away,” Wright said, adding that she “keeps adding test dates, but they keep filling up.” She suggested anyone who is not finished with the tests should try to schedule a date this week.

Lynn Fitzgibbons, coordinator for alternative education for Henry County Public Schools, said staff members at the Center for Community Learning, which administers tests in Martinsville and Henry County, have spent a lot of time recently reminding those who may be nearly done to complete their testing.

“We’ve done mailings. We’ve done a lot of telephone calling” trying to remind people the tests are changing, she said. “Our main focus has been, if you’ve only got one or two tests left, get in here and let’s get this done.”

Wright said the changes will modernize the test and align it with new college- and career-ready standards adopted in a majority of states.

The new test emphasizes a person’s “depth of knowledge,” she said, adding that the new tests will have different “levels” emphasizing a student’s readiness for college or careers. There will be a second tier involved, where a person will be able to graduate “with honors.”

“Right now, you get a score, and it doesn’t tell you if the person is career-ready,” Wright said. “You really don’t know anything about their depth of knowledge in a particular area.”

One reason for the change in testing, she said, was to add digital competency to the test, as high school students have to be comfortable using computers on a daily basis. Using the old pencil and paper test did not address that need, she said.

“The person who takes the GED test and is successful, they will automatically be able to say they have some digital competency,” Wright said.

Wright said another change will be that due to the new technology, new testing centers will have to be set up with Pearson Vue Testing, which co-owns the GED Testing Service. One testing center is up and running in Danville, and another soon will be in Franklin County, she said.

“Once I get my Franklin County center up, I can add an addendum (site) in Henry County,” she said.

Regardless of the changes, Wright stressed that workers still will be available to help test-takers. The new tests “will still be doable,” she said.

“We’re still going to be here,” Wright added, “we’re still going to be helping these people.”


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