Monday, 15 April 2013

States drop GED: States seeking alternative as test price spikes

States drop GED: States seeking alternative as test price spikes, Several dozen states are looking for an alternative to the GED high school equivalency test due to concerns that next year's new version is more costly. A report from the Associated Press on Sunday, April 14, 2013, says that there is another concern that the new test won't be offered in pencil and paper format either.

States have the responsibility of issuing high school equivalency certificates or diplomas, and they have relied on the General Education Development (GED) exam since soon after the test was created. It was originally created to help veterans returning from World War II.

Now, 40 states and the District of Columbia are taking part in a working group that considering other options besides the GED. Two test makers are trying to promote new exams.

"It's a complete paradigm shift because the GED has been the monopoly. It's been the only thing in town for high school equivalency testing. It's kind of like Kleenex at this point," said Amy Riker, director of high school equivalency testing for Educational Testing Service, which developed one of the alternative tests.

In March, Montana, New York, and New Hampshire announced they would be switching to a new high school equivalency exam. Officials in California also started looking into amending regulations to drop the requirement that the state use the GED test only.

Missouri plans to make a decision this month after requesting bids from test makers. Several other states are making plans to request information about alternative exams, and those states include Maine, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Indiana.

New Jersey and Tennessee are also exploring the option of offering more than just one test.

"The national situation is definitely fluid," said Tom Robbins, Missouri's director of adult education and high school equivalency, noting that other states plan to use the GED for now and bid later.

The biggest problem is that the cost to take the new GED is doubling to $120 in most states. If Missouri sticks with the GED test, then the cost to take it would be $140.

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