GED test receives overhaul

Published 10:56 am Friday, September 6, 2013


FRANKLIN—The General Educational Development test, otherwise known as the GED test, is undergoing drastic changes for 2014.

The original test consisted of six subjects: Language Arts/Writing Pt. 1, Language Arts/Writing Pt. 2 (Essay), Social Studies, Science, Language Arts/Reading and Mathematics.

There will be more to the changes than the test itself. The difference between the pricing is one example. The present one is $58 for the entire battery of tests and $10 for each subject. The new test will be $120 for the entire battery and $20 for one subject. The policies regarding the old test have changed as well. After this year the old sections that people have already passed will not count toward the new GED test.

“For 2014, the GED test is changing. It hasn’t been revised in over 10 years,” said Vanessa Collins, the program manager for Adult Education in the City of Franklin, when speaking about Language Arts, talking about the reason for changing the test. “It was long overdue.”

The new test features a more intensive version of the same subjects. It is a total of seven hours worth of testing with a 15-minute break between each test.

There will only be three opportunities to take the test in 2014. Language Arts Reason combined all the language arts portions into one with a heavy emphasis on reasoning and comprehension skills added to it. Instead of 75 minutes to take the subject test, participants will have three hours including a break. The focus is more on identifying information.

“The test used to be 75 percent fiction. Now it’s 75 percent nonfiction. It’s not like taking poems and breaking them down. You have to know the facts. You have to read a section and come back and explain it,” Collins said. “It’s about reading comprehension and finding information. You also have to learn how to type and develop computer skills now.”

Social Studies Reasoning features more emphasis on civics and government, as well as the use of data, inference skills and problem solving. The time for this section has been extended from 70 minutes to 90 minutes.

Science Reasoning has not changed except in the name and the fact that there are five minutes less to complete the section.

Mathematics Reasoning has seen one of the most dramatic changes with the focus being divided almost equally between quantitative problem solving, 45 percent, and algebraic problem solving, 55 percent. It will challenge procedural skills as well as problem solving skills and test participants on usage of an embedded calculator (TI-30XS Multi view On-Screen Calculator).

The new GED test is graded on two separate performance standards: Passing Standard and Exemplary Target. Passing Standard only represents a high school equivalency. Exemplary Target reflects an indicator of career and college readiness, something that employers are on the watch for.

“The people who developed the test went and asked employers what skills and what areas potential employees were lacking in. The second standard, Exemplary Target, means that a person scoring in this area is ready to be in a career,” said Collins. “The Career Readiness Certificate was something that was mentioned over and over. I just went to a workshop back in July and those terms were, and there’s a big push across the country for career readiness.”

The Career Readiness Certificate is received from a nationally recognized test that judges participants in the areas of applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information.

“The main thing I want to do, besides advertising that our program is starting and getting people registered, is to make it known that anyone who has taken something and only has two or three areas to pass, they need to come in here and try to get it done now,” said Collins, who stressed the importance of taking advantage of the test. “After this year, anything they’ve taken won’t count. They’ll have to take it all over again.”