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GED test costs set to triple

Clark, Champaign educators say changes could deter some.

The cost to take a high school equivalency diploma exam in Ohio will triple next year, and candidates who’ve passed some but not all sections will lose their prior scores — if they don’t finish remaining sections before the end of the year.

Also, the last day for the Ohio Department of Education to receive an application for a paper-based General Educational Development test is Friday, meaning anyone applying after that date will only be able to take a computer-based test.

That could hinder candidates who don’t have computer skills or who can’t afford the new $120 test.

Some media outlets from around the state have reported people in their areas are scrambling to get their GED before the end of the year, but several districts in Clark and Champaign counties that offer the testing haven’t seen an increase in applications or interest.

Mechanicsburg doesn’t offer the testing directly, according to Superintendent Daniel R. Kaffenbarger.

But Kaffenbarger, who’s also superintendent of the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center, said that he believes the passing rate on a more difficult test will depend on the level of preparation and the level of effort put forth by those taking the test.

And that increased difficulty could deter some people from taking it, he said, but aligning it with the rigors of a current high school education is necessary to move the country forward.

“A nation is only as strong as its educated citizens. ‘Ramping’ up rigor in public schools via testing and common core standards, third-grade reading guarantee, etc. and still allowing an easy path to receive a GED seems counter-intuitive to me,” Kaffenbarger said.

He added that increased costs are relative to the individual.

“We all seem to find the funds to something that we think is important,” said Kaffenbarger, who’s also the superintendent of the Madison-Champaign Education Service Center. “It might mean a temporary sacrifice, but if the end of getting a GED is valued, the means of financial sacrifice might not be an insurmountable obstacle.”

Triad Local Schools new superintendent, Matt Sheridan, said that a more difficult test could result in a decline in the passage rate and that the increased costs might keep some from taking it.

The new test will replace the current one first offered in 2002 and be geared more toward adults, according to the website of the GED Testing Service, which is operated in part by the American Council on Education.

“The new assessment will continue to provide adults the opportunity to earn a high school credential, but it goes further by measuring career- and college-readiness skills that are the focus of today’s curriculum and tomorrow’s success,” its website says.

It will continue to focus on four content areas: literacy, mathematics, science and social studies.

“In today’s world, a high school credential is the stepping-stone to many entry-level jobs, and is also a prerequisite for promotions, occupational training, and postsecondary education,” according to the GED Testing Service.

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