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GED 2014 – Three Years Later
Date: January 28, 2017 09:51AM

GED 2014 – Three Years Later

Three years ago, the GED 2014 test was launched. The new test was the most dramatic change in the 72 year history of the exam. It was a completely new test. Not only did the GED change to a CBT format, but the GED curriculum was altered to be based on national Common Core standards.

The GED was born during World War II as a result of the vast numbers of young men and women leaving school before graduation to fight for their country. The government foresaw a need to help them get back on track when they came home. So the American Council on Education created the GED in 1942.

Over the decades, the use of the GED credential expanded. It evolved to represent a second chance for immigrants too old to attend school, for prisoners trying to turn their lives around, for teen parents or anyone whose life interfered with completing formal education.

Over the years the test has been updated five times, and on some occasions those upgrades resulted in drops in participation the following year. The previous update, in 2002, resulted in a one-year drop of 53% in test takers.

This time around in the first year after the launch, the high school equivalency program saw a sharp drop in the number of people who took and passed the test. Nationally, while the GED Testing Service says it has seen a "sizable decrease," it hasn’t posted its annual GED Testing Program Statistical Report on its website since 2103.

According to an NPR Morning Edition Report, A 'Sizable Decrease' In Those Passing the GED, in 2012, a total of 401,388 people passed the GED test. In 2013, people rushed to take the old test in its final year, creating a bump to a total of 540,535 people passing. In the general population in 2014, 58,524 earned a GED credential. The 2014 number does not include the prison population.

Some adult educators claim that the changes made in the GED 2014 test create unnecessary barriers for people who are already struggling. Concerns they cite are the test's increased difficulty, higher cost and computer requirement.

With the advent of GED 2014, for the first time the new GED Testing Service is a joint venture between the non-profit American Council on Education and the for-profit education company Pearson.

For 72 years, the GED had been the only game in town. As a result of the concerns about the new test and the GED's shift to being run on a for-profit basis, two alternative tests have emerged and been adopted by many states. As of the end of 2016, at least 19 states have begun offering or plan to offer new, alternative tests. Thirty-one states still offer only the GED.

The High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) is produced by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service and the University of Iowa. The HiSET is the only testing alternative in eight states – Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, and Tennessee. The Test @#$%& Secondary Completion (TASC) produced by CTB/McGraw-Hill is the only alternative in three states – Indiana, New York, and West Virginia

New Mexico accepts either the GED or HiSET. Illinois and South Carolina accept either the GED or TASC. In California, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Wyoming; the GED, HiSET and TASC are all available.

The GED exam includes four separate tests in the subject areas of: Literacy (Reasoning through Language Arts), Math (Mathematical Reasoning), Social Studies, and Science, and is only offered in a computer-based format. The TASC and HiSET exams come with five tests in the subject fields of Writing, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Math. These exams are generally offered in both paper and computer formats. The GED and TASC tests are based on Common Core State Standards, while the HiSET content comes from the Iowa Testing normed in 2011.

In most states, the GED exam costs $120, but there are states where the exam is more expensive due to local fees. The TASC and HiSET are cheaper costing $52 and $50 respectively, and some states pay part of the cost. Some states subsidize the exams partially, and four states fully subsidize the cost of the exam for their residents (New York, West Virginia, Maine and Connecticut).

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