GED test, cost to change in 2014

High school equivalency test to get tougher, more expensive and only be offered via computer.

Impending changes to the General Educational Development test, or GED, make 2013 an important year for students who want to pass the exam and achieve his or her Ohio High School Equivalence Diploma.

In 2014, the content, method and cost of the nationally standardized test will change for the first time in Ohio since 2002. Also, unlike the previous 11 years, the portions of the test that students have passed prior to 2014 will not count toward the attainment of his or her GED.

Due to these changes, students are being advised to consider completing the test this year.

“If they have taken the GED already and passed some but not all of the parts, I would encourage them to get busy, get back in class and complete the test before end of the year,” said Linda Bumiller, the director of adult education for Miami Valley Career Technology Center. “Otherwise, all those parts (subjects passed that students would have received credit for) will go away.”

In 2011, the last data available, 20,275 people took a GED test in Ohio and 14,959 passed. Bumiller said it is common for people to take the test more than once before they pass.

Until the end of this year, the GED will cost $40 to take the complete paper and pencil version of the test and $120 to take the computer-based version.

The last day to place an application and submit fees and documentation for the paper test is Aug. 9, according to the Ohio Department of Education. The last day to take the paper test is Dec. 21, based on each test center’s schedule.

Starting in 2014, a new $120 computer-based test will be students’ only option.

“Computer literacy is now an essential skill, and all of our high school students are submitting work by way of the computer,” Bumiller said. “The 2002 test is a little outdated, and I think these changes will be better for students and instructors. It will prepare them more for the real world, and get employers to see it as an equivalency diploma.”

The content of the GED also will become more challenging next year, as it aligns with the Common Core State Standards that are being adopted across the country. Ohio school districts must adopt the Common Core curriculum as of the 2014-15 school year.

There will be four subjects, as compared to the five offered this year. The writing portion that currently is its own section will be incorporated into the other four subjects of English, science, social studies and math. Each are based on a 12th-grade curriculum.

Another incentive for people to take the GED this year is that they can repeat the test more times than in previous years, and in individual years to come.

Dennis Evans of the Ohio Department of Education said the standard protocol is for students to take the GED no more than three times per year.

“This year you can take the pencil and paper test three times, but you can take the computer-based test up to six times,” Evans said. “There are plenty of opportunities to take it this year, but when a new test rolls out it will be back to three times per year.”

He added that it is still early enough in the year for students to examine their GED options.

“It’s a personal choice on when to take it, and you have to look at your personal timetable and goals for what you’re trying to achieve,” Evans said. “The deal is to make sure that you really are prepared going into it. Working with local programs that can help you prepare.”

For information about GED classes and options, contact Project Read at (937) 461-7323.

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