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Changes in works for GED students

SoVaNow.com / November 27, 2013


Students who are working towards their GEDs face a rapidly-approaching deadline for completion before a new version of the high school equivalency exam rolls out in January.

GED aspirants who don’t finish the process by then may find their work slate wiped clean, with the prospect of having to take a more rigorous — and more expensive — tests to receive their degrees.

Buffy Allgood and her staff at Southside Virginia Community College are battling the clock as they rush to help GED students in Southside Virginia who haven’t yet wrapped up their work.

Even though test takers have been warned for nearly a year about the pending changes, Allgood said her students are no different than most people who push aside unpleasant tasks as long as possible.

“Up through September we tested between 10 and 15 students at each test setting. Now we are bombarded with calls from students who want to take the test, and we keep adding new dates,” she said.

Beginning January 2, 2014, the new test will be administered solely via computer. Students who fail to pass all five subjects — math, science, social studies, reading and writing — by the end of 2013 will be forced to retake the entire test, explained Allgood.

The passing scores will change. Currently, the minimum passing score for each section is 410, and students most earn a total overall score of 2250. The new test’s grading scale calls for a minimum score of 150 on each section and a total overall score of 600. 800 is the highest score achievable.

Overall, the test will be more rigorous, Allgood noted.

The new test also comes with a version of sticker shock: First-time test takers now pay $58 and, if necessary, $10 per section for each retest. Starting in 2014, the base price jumps to $120 for first time test takers and $24 per section for any retests. Practice tests will no longer be free. The GED Testing Service will charge students $4 per section.

Allgood said the staff at SVCC is aware that cost may scare some people away from pursuing their GEDs. To address that concern, SVCC “will continue to strive to pay the test fees for any of their students taking the GED,” said Allgood.

Allgood also sees problems with forcing all test-taking to be computerized. “Right now, we have only one lab equipped to administer the test online, and that’s at our Alberta campus.” She says SVCC is limited because each testing site must share a computer drive with Pearson Vue.

The best way to schedule a test is to call Allgood at 434-949-1090. She adds that even though there are no tests scheduled after December 20, when SVCC closes for the holidays, Allgood will make herself available to students who need to take the GED test after that date.

The GED (short for General Educational Development test) was created in 1942 for returning veterans who dropped out of high school to serve in World War II and was run by the non-profit American Council on Education.

This is the first upgrade since for-profit Pearson Vue Testing acquired a joint ownership interest in the GED Testing Service.

For more information about the GED test, a list of classes or test schedules, call Buffy Allgood, Regional Adult Education Program Manager at SVCC, 434-949-1090.



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