By Denise Dick
If you’ve been thinking about finally earning your GED, now would be a good time to do it.
Beginning in January 2014, the cost of taking the test will triple from $40 to $120, and the content will be more difficult.
“It’s hard for some of our students to come up with the $40. Now it’s going up to $120,” said Mia Panno, Youngstown Adult Basic Literacy Education coordinator. “It saddens me. It’s going to be difficult.”
ABLE offers classes to prepare students from Mahoning County to take the GED (General Educational Development) test.
Additionally, rather than the paper-and-pencil test used now, testers will have to take the new GED on a computer.
“There’s a national effort to go with computer-based testing,” Panno said.
She stressed, though, that the tests are taken using a computer program, not on the Internet, at a GED testing center.
The computer-based portion starts even before the new test takes effect.
“We’ll only have a paper-and-pencil test until Aug. 1, 2013,” Panno said.
That could pose challenges for testers unaccustomed to using a keyboard and mouse. The test is timed, and for the math portion, testers may use only the calculator on the computer.
The writing portion of the test will be eliminated. The essay will be replaced by short answers in the math, social studies, reading and science portions of the test.
Trigonometry and calculus will be included on the math portion.
Because the new test starts in January 2014, anyone who’s taken and passed some portions of the test but didn’t pass others must pass the remaining portions before the new test. When the new test starts, those old scores will no longer count.
The changes are part of a nationwide college and career readiness push.
“More than a million adults have started but not finished the current GED test,” Nicole Chestang, executive vice president of GED Testing Service, said in a news release. “As a nation, we cannot afford to let millions of working-aged adults miss the opportunity to complete and pass the GED test, opening doors to college, training and better jobs.”
Panno said there are good elements of the changes as well.
Rather than having to take the GED test all at once over two days, a tester can choose to do one portion at a time.
Someone who wants to register for the GED will be able to do that online, 24 hours a day rather than having to call and set it up.
Immediately upon finishing a portion of the test, a tester gets his or her unoffical score.
Test takers also can earn the high-school-equivalency credential and an endorsement indicating career and college readiness.
The cost increase is because the tests will be administered by a private firm rather than the state.