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Major changes on the way for GED testing

Click to enlarge Major changes on the way for GED testing

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Central Carolina Community College students in Beverly Diniz’s General Educational Development ... (more)

11.14.2012Continuing EducationStudents/Graduates

SANFORD — Central Carolina Community College will implement a new series of General Educational Development (GED) tests as part of a national initiative slated to begin Jan. 1, 2014.

“We are excited about the new GED test,” said Dawn Tucker, dean of College and Career Readiness at CCCC. “Its standards are rigorous and will prepare our students to be college- and career-ready.”

Tucker spoke of the impact of this change by describing the prominence of the CCCC GED program and the high volume of program students, explaining that CCCC was among the seven top-awarding community colleges for GED diplomas in North Carolina. In fact, during the 2011-2012 program year, 349 students earned their GED credential.

“This completion rate speaks highly of our instructors and the excellent job they have done of preparing students for successful completion of their GED,” Tucker said. “This also speaks highly of our students who are focused and motivated to earn their GED credential.”

Coral Banks is one such student. A recent CCCC GED graduate, Banks credits the college’s program for providing him with the skills necessary for success and for obtaining his position as a new-hire at Caterpillar, a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.

“This CCCC program helped boost my self-confidence and changed my life in a positive way,” Banks said. “With the knowledge I have acquired, I have the tools to succeed and grow with a highly respected company.”

The impetus behind the GED testing change is a national initiative to establish consistent criteria for the curriculum across the nation.

The new GED test is based on the Common Core State Standard, an earlier measure of this initiative adopted by educational institutions in most states, including North Carolina, in 2010. These standards outline a more rigorous curriculum, offer clear expectations for student learning, and provide real-world skills necessary for college and career success.

Tucker explained: “The philosophy underlying the new GED assessment is that a foundational core of academic skills and content knowledge must be acquired for an adult to be prepared to enter a job, a training program, or an entry-level postsecondary course.”

Whereas the new GED testing change is a response to a national educational initiative, the current GED test was instituted approximately 10 years ago as a response to a shift in student intentions, with more testers seeking a GED for educational purposes rather than for employment opportunities.

The new test series is a battery of four tests, one test each in the academic areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. This four-subject focus is a shift from the previous test series, which concentrated on the five following areas: Language Arts (Reading), Language Arts (Writing), Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.

Another significant format change is the delivery method of the test. Whereas the previous test series was conducted as a pencil-and-paper test using a test booklet and answer sheet, the new test series will be solely computer-based.

Current GED students will have until the end of 2013 to pass all five of the current GED tests; at the end of 2013, the current version of the GED test expires, and students who have not passed these tests must begin anew with the new GED test.

No scores or credits from the current GED test will transfer to the new test.

“Current GED students who have not passed all five tests are therefore encouraged to work diligently to complete all testing before the end of 2013,” Tucker said.

Students may also want to complete their requirements under the current system for financial reasons: The price of the new test series is predicted to increase.

The existing cost for GED testing is 25 dollars, a flat fee that covers all five tests.

While the price of the new test has not yet been announced, the cost will not be a flat fee as with the current test. Rather, a fee will be applied to each individual test in the series, with the same per-test fees also applying to the cost of re-taking the test series.

To pass the new test series and earn a GED credential, a total score of 2,250 points is required–an average of 450 points per test.

Students interested in receiving a GED should enroll in GED classes, which prepare students for the GED tests through classroom instruction and practice tests. Once students have obtained the required score on the practice tests, they are registered to take the GED test.

GED testing is offered each month on campuses at each of the three counties within CCCC’s service area at the following locations: Siler City Center in Chatham County; the Lillington Adult Education Center in Harnett County; and the Lifelong Learning Center at W.B. Wicker in Lee County.

Interested students should contact the faculty representative at a nearby campus: Lillington, Carma Baggett, 919-814-8974; Pittsboro, Judy Herndon, 919-545-8028; Sanford, Kevin Pearson, 919-777-7707; or Siler City, Gia Durso, 919-545-8663.

The GED Testing Service is a joint venture between the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Pearson education company. Its major goal is the development of an assessment that both indicates career- and college-readiness and issues a high-school equivalency credential.

For more information about CCCC’s GED program, visit