The current version of the General Educational Development test — the 2002 Series GED Test — will expire at the end of 2013, along with students' incomplete test scores.
This means that anyone who has started the GED program and still has tests to take will need to complete his or her current program by the end of this year, or that student will have to start all over under the new 2014 edition.
All of the students' previous scores for the five-part test will be deleted if they are not all complete by the end of December.
"And if they have outstanding scores out there — passing scores, even — by the end of year, those scores will just be eliminated and the student will have to start again," said Karen Kirchler, executive director of West Georgia Technical College's Adult Education Department.
The tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills. Since inception of the GED program, more than 18 million adults who were unable to finish high school have found a solution in getting their GED, which is accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and employers.
In an effort to help students complete their GED by the end of 2013, the program is offering many incentives, such as a free practice test and scholarships that cover part of the cost of a test.
"If they have started working and still have some test scores out there, it's really in their best interest to finish the test, so they don't lose the money and effort they've put in," Kirchler said.
The new 2014 GED test will be based on emerging national and state standards. It will offer dual performance levels where test-takers can earn the high school equivalency credential, as well as an additional endorsement that indicates career- and college-readiness. The test will be delivered solely on computer and offered only in official testing centers.
Kirchler notes that the 2014 GED tests are expected to be more difficult than their predecessors.
“Part of that is that the tests will be ‘normed’ to what graduating seniors are expected to know," Kirchler said. "What graduating seniors were expected to know in 2002 is a little different than what it is in 2013."
Kirchler said the new series of tests will require "higher-order thinking skills" and more problem solving.
The test will also be presented in a different way, with all students taking the test on a computer instead of using pencil and paper.
The cost of the GED test rose last July for the first time in five years as well.
The fee rose from $19 for each part to $32 per part, bringing the total cost of the five-part test from $95 to $160.
Dawn Cook, WGTC’s vice-president of institutional advancement, said approximately 550 students took the GED test last year.
WGTC is the only place in Carroll County to take a certified GED test.
According to the Census of Need issued by the Technical College System of Georgia Office of Adult Education, based on 2010 census data, there are 14,636 people in Carroll County over the age of 25 who lack a high school diploma or GED. Based on American Community Survey data, there are more than 17,000 people over the age of 18 who lack a high school diploma or GED in Carroll County.
A press release from the TCSG stated that the new price factors in the cost of the development, implementation, delivery and use of the test, including the computer-based version.
The new price coincides with the nationwide implementation of a computer-based GED test. In 2014, the only test that will be available will be computer-based, and Georgia is one of the first states to use it.
Those interested in registering for a GED class should call the West Georgia Technical College GED Line at 1-855-500-4337.
Classes are also offered Tuesday nights from 6-8 p.m. at Whitesburg Christian Church. Call 770-834-0713 for more information.