GED test overhauled? Some states looking for new exam?

Exam: GED Test - General Educational Development Test: Social Studies, Language Arts - Writing, Science, Language Arts - Reading, Mathematics

The General Education Test (GED) is a high school equivalent credential administered by the GED Testing service. Since its establishment in 1942 GED Testing Service was run by the non-profit association, the American Council of Education (ACE). In 2011, however, the transformed into a for-profit organisation by partnering up with Pearson VUE, a subsidiary of the world’s leading education company Pearson.

The objective behind the collaboration with Pearson VUE, which has the largest network of testing centre in the world, was to adapt to the latest trends and developments in the market without compromising on the integrity and quality of the GED Test. The partnership also led to the decision ofmaking a significant change in the GED programso that the test effectively serves its purpose of aiding the colleges and employers find the right candidates who are skilled to work in accordance with the current trends and developments in the market.

Test takers cynicalabout the new GED test

The new GED test that came into practice in January 2014 is the largest redesign of the test in its history of 70 years. Starting from the testing format to the content of the test, the change is drastic and creating concern among test takers who have partially taken the test and even the new enrols as the strategy for preparation to be followed is completely new. The test has been made completely computer based making it much more expensive with a 70% hike in cost of taking up the test. Moreover, the difficulty level has also been raised by reducing the multiple choice questions and including short answer and extended response questions. Though GED Testing Service is providing sufficient resources for the educators as well as the test takers, the test takers continue to be sceptical to take up the new version of the GED test.

States concern on price rise

The increase in the cost of the new GED test due to computerisation is more of a concern for the states of the nation than the test takers. This is due to the fact that most of the state offers subsidies to the test takers as an effort to promote the high school education and improve the quality of workforce. In New York, for example, there is a prohibition on a fee charge on GED tests and the complete testing fees are paid by the state from its budget. The state, thus, has to either double its expenditure or reduce the number of test slots to half for people willing to take up the test.  Also as a measure to maintain the quality of workforce of the nation, the states are opting for other high school equivalent tests to encourage the people to complete and earn a credential for the high school level.

In this scenario of states looking for new avenues, there are two new tests that have come up as a feasible option for the states. The two new entrants in the high school equivalent test league are High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

About HiSET

HiSET is administered by Educational Testing Service which is a non-profit organisation also managing the Graduation Record Examination.The test is available in two languages including English and Spanish. The test consists of five sections includingScience, Mathematics, Social Studies, Language Arts Reading and Language Arts Writing. The answering item types include multiple choice questions in all the five sections and essay in the Language Arts writing section with the number of questions in Science, Social Studies and Mathematics being 50, in Language Art Reading being 40 and Language Art Writing being 51. The content of the test is aligned to theCommon Core State Standards. HiSET is a credential that certifies the test takers academic knowledge and skills matching the standards of a high school graduate.

About TASC

TASC is a high school equivalent test administered by CTB/McGraw-Hill. The test is available in two languages including English and Spanish.The test consists of five sections including Mathematics, Social Studies, Language Arts Reading, Language Arts Writing and Science.The content of the test is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The questions in TASC test include 40 multiple choice questions and 12 gridded response items in the Mathematics section, 47 multiple choice questions and 8 stimuli each in the Science and Social Studies section, 50 multiple choice questions each in the Language Art Reading and Writing Sections along with a prompt based on one or two passages in Writing section and 7-8 passages in the reading section.TASC is designed to assess the proficiency in skills and knowledge of the test takers for high school graduation and their readiness for college and ability to join the workforce of the nation.

Advantages of the TASC and HiSET over GED

The first and foremost advantage that TASC and HiSET offer is that both the tests are available in both pencil and paper format and computerised test format. Both HiSET and TASC are much less costly compared to the new GED test with TASC priced at $52 and HiSET priced at $50 making it a cost-effective option for states and the test takers. The two tests also offer the states the option to take into consideration the previous GED scores which is completely scrapped according to the new GED test rules. With the states finding options to replace the GED Tests, some of the states have chosen to continue to offer GED along with one or two of these tests.States like New Hampshire, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, New York, Missouri, Montana, West Virginia and Louisiana do not offer GED Tests anymore, while states such as Nevada, Wyoming and New Jersey are offering all the three tests.

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