Starting in 2014, however, the GED Testing Service, the only official "keeper" of the GED test in the United States, a division of the American Council on Education, will convert the official GED test to a computer-based version for the first time. The service states that the new test "is no longer an endpoint for adults, but rather a springboard for further education, training, and better paying jobs."
The new test will have four assessments:
- Literacy (reading and writing)
- Social Studies
Not only is the test itself new, the scoring for it has improved tremendously. The new scoring system will provide a profile of scores that includes a student's strengths and areas of needed improvement for each of the four assessments.
Scoring will also give non-traditional students the opportunity to demonstrate job and college readiness through an endorsement that can be added to the GED credential.
How the Change Came About
For several years, the GED Testing Service has worked closely with many different education and career experts while making the changes it announced this month. Some of the groups involved in the research and decisions:
- High schools
- Two- and four-year colleges and universities
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
- National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Adult educators from around the country
- National Center for Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc.
- Educational Policy Improvement Center at University of Oregon
- Education Division of ACT
- Institute for Education Leadership and Policy
It's easy to see that a high-level of research went into the new changes in the 2014 GED test. The new assessment targets are based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Texas and Virginia, as well as career-readiness and college-readiness standards. All of the changes are based on evidence of effectiveness.
The bottom line, the GED Testing Service states, is that "a GED test-passer must remain competitive with students who complete their high school credentials in the traditional manner."
Computers Offer Variety in Testing MethodsThe switch to computer-based testing allows the GED Testing Service to incorporate different testing methods not possible with paper and pencil. For example, the Literacy Test will include text ranging from 400-900 words, and 6-8 questions in a variety of formats, including:
- Multiple choice items
- Brief short answer items
- Several different types of technology-enhanced items
- Cloze items embedded in passages (multiple response options that appear in a drop-down menu)
- One 45-minute extended response item
Other opportunities provided by computer-based testing are the ability to include graphics with hot spots, or sensors, a test-taker can click on to provide answers to a question, drag-and-drop items, and split screens so the student can page through longer texts while keeping an essay on the screen.
ResourcesThe GED Testing Service is busy providing documents and webinars to educators across the country to prepare them for this big change. Students will still have access to programs designed not only to prepare them for this new test, but to help them excel at it.
Also in the works is a "transition network that supports and links adults with postsecondary education, training and career opportunities -- providing them a chance to earn a sustainable living wage." When we know what that looks like, and means to you, we'll pass it on.
We'll be providing more information for you as we study the new documentation. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, we have help available for the current GED test: