DARKE COUNTY – The GED test is set for many changes in 2014, including the way the test is taken, the expectations for those taking the test, and the cost to take the test, said Kathy Stammen, coordinator of the Darke County Adult Basic and Literacy Education program.
Beginning in 2014 the GED test for Ohio will be paralleled with the Common Core State Standards, which have already been adopted by a majority of the United States, said Mark Kehe, vice president of products for GED Testing Service, in a PowerPoint delivered at a conference in October 2012.
According to Kehe, a new assessment was needed to keep pace with the changes in education and the workforce. The new GED will better measure adults’ preparedness to enter institutions of higher learning and the workplace, Kehe said.
The new test will also provide a more integrated and systematic approach to learning, “ensuring that the GED test credential is positioned over the long-term to retain and enhance its relevance for adults, employers, and post-secondary institutions,” said Kehe.
According to Kehe, past updates have been more gradual than the 2014 changes will be, but the promise of long-term improvement won’t mean a large hike in expectations right away.
“The changes being made will take a number of years to fully come to fruition…parallel to K-12 changes with Common Core State Standards…” Kehe asserted.
The new GED test will take approximately seven hours to complete, and there will only be three opportunities for adults to take the test in 2014, with more becoming available 2015 and on, Kehe said.
There will be an emphasis on reasoning through language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, with a push for basic knowledge across many disciplines, remarked Kehe.
“It will definitely require a different way of thinking,” commented Stammen. “There will be more critical thinking involved, and that takes time, but it is key.”
The types of questions that will show up on the computer-based test include multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, hot-spots, short-answer, and extended-answer, some of which will appear on a split screen, which Stammen thinks might pose a challenge for adults who aren’t as well-versed in technology, she said.
With the new GED test, there’s an increased emphasis on critical thinking skills, skills application, and integrating technology, stated Kehe.
A greater emphasis on technology doesn’t come with extra funding, though, which Stammen said has ABLE staff a little worried, as does the unknown that comes with implementing a new testing system, she said.
“We’re lucky we have day classes at Edison, so students have access to the computer lab there, and we have night classes at the Greenville Career Tech Center, so they have access to computers there, as well,” said Stammen. “It will impact other programs in the state that don’t have that access, though.”
The last sign-up date for the paper-based test will be in August, but the only class available in Darke County for that testing date has already begun, said Stammen. Adults can contact Miami Valley Career Tech Center (MVCTC) at 800-716-7161 or Upper Valley Joint Vocational School at 800-589-6963 to attend classes there, but after August, all GED tests in Ohio will be computer-based, rather than paper-based, she said.
The August GED test will still cost $40 for first-time test-takers, Stammen said, whereas waiting until 2014 to take the computer-based GED test will cost $120. GED classes to prepare for the test are always free, said Stammen, and available in nearly every Ohio county.
“Many of the people who come in wanting to get their GED are unemployed, or low-income with families,” said Stammen. “It’s going to be that much harder for them to come up with that fee if they’re unemployed, or low-income.”