GED test under revision

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 1999

Staff Writer

An updated version of the General Education Development test will be ready to be administered by the year 2002, meaning those who have been working on completing the current test should do so by Dec. 31, 2001.

The GED is broken into five separate tests. Those in the program can take one or more of the tests over if they did not achieve a high enough grade the first time. However, when the new test is released on Jan. 1, 2002, the results of the current test will be disregarded and the testers will have to start over with the new test.

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The new test will replace the current series test that has been administered since 1988. The new series will continue to reflect the criteria of a four-year high school program of study in the core disciplines of language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

However, the new tests will emphasize workplace and higher education needs by including questions on data analysis, statistics and probability in addition to the algebra and geometry questions on the current GED test.

Emily Sewell, who is the alternate examiner of GED exams as the secretary to the campus coordinator at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, said those who need to take any portion of the test will want to do so before the test changes.

"A lot of people do not realize that there are five tests that make up the GED. If they pass four of them, then they are allowed to retake the remaining test until they pass it. However, when the new test is administered, these people will have to start all over again by retaking the entire test," Sewell said.

The test is given in Butler County twelve times a year to approximately 140 to 150 students. The students must make a 40 on each section of the test, anything less means they would have to retake that portion.

"Some people do very well on some parts, but then don't do as well on others. A total score of 225 is needed to pass the test. Someone can make that score and still make a 39 on the math section which means they would have to retake that part," Ronald Shanks, adult education supervisor with the Butler County Board of Education said.

Sewell said there is a section of those who have begun working toward there GED but have yet to complete the program.

"Two-thirds of those tested will end up passing the test, but there is another one-third who has not and they do not realize that there is a time limitation and they do not have the luxury to put it off," she said.

The GED was last updated in 1988 and very little is known regarding the changes of the upcoming test. the test is designed to remain a step above the graduation exam.

"We know there will be a math section that allows the use of a calculator. The new test will require more thought and reason then earlier tests. Instead of reading a section and pulling answers from the reading, the person will have to think about what the answers are," he said.

Shanks said adult education classes will be ready when the new test is unveiled on Jan. 1, 2002. In the meantime he said they can help those who need to finish the current test.

"We will work with those who need to complete the test. If they do not take it before the December of 2001, they will have to retake the entire test so it is very important that we work with those people and help them complete the GED test," he said.