Obtaining a General Educational Development credential is considered essential to getting a good job and pursuing higher education. Now, with major changes to the GED test coming in 2014, individuals are asked to complete the test as soon as possible.
Staff at Vanguard-Sentinel Adult Career and Technology Center's Adult Basic Literacy Education and GED program are urging individuals to register and take the current test.
"The sooner, the better," said ABLE instructor Cathe Hammer.
The new test is scheduled to be released in January 2014 and is to be administered electronically, which eliminates the traditional pencil-and-paper test. The test will be given through certified Pearson Vue testing centers, meaning individuals will not be able to test at Vanguard or Sentinel.
Testing centers in northwest Ohio will be the Lucas County Educational Service Center in Toledo; Owens Community College in Perrysburg; and Marion Technical College in Marion.
The new test also comes with a new cost. The test that now costs $40 will increase to $120. There will be four parts to the test - math, science, reasoning through language arts and social studies.
An individual can re-test up to three times in a calendar year in each subject in order to get a passing score. The price for re-tests is yet to be determined.
"I think the changes to the test present several challenges, including the cost of the test and transportation to a testing center," said Lynne Barth, Vanguard-Sentinel ABLE coordinator.
Another challenge is that scores from the old format will expire. Individuals who have not yet passed certain sections of the current test will have to retake and pass those sections again.
"The GED Test 2014 will measure core knowledge and skills and an additional performance level will certify those how are ready for college and careers," Barth said. "The GED test-passer must be competitive with students who graduate high school in the traditional manner. The test is aligned to the state common-core standards."
Students will still be able to participate in Vanguard-Sentinel's ABLE program. Students must participate in an orientation. The next orientation dates are at 5:30 p.m. May 1 and 12:30 p .m. May 15.
Vanguard-Sentinel also is offering a GED Fast Track program beginning June 3. Two sessions are to be offered 9-11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and again 5:30-8 p.m., through July.
"Students of all skill levels are welcome to attend to receive individualized instruction, but those who qualify with their intake assessment scores will receive a free practice test and assistance registering for the current GED test," Barth said.
The registration deadline for new and repeat GED test-takers is Aug. 9, and the last day to take the current version of the GED test is Dec. 10 and 11.
The new test is to focus more on non-fiction readings with more analysis and evaluation, Hammer said.
"The new math test will focus on quantitative problem solving and algebraic problem solving, as well as requiring the test-taker to apply mathematics in a real life context," Barth said.
She said the language arts portion will assess language, editing and argumentative writing skills, while the social studies and science tests will include graphic representations of concepts.
"The test as a whole is designed to be a stepping stone toward college and careers that will allow workers to earn a family-sustaining wage," she said.