Some States Drop GED As Prices Go Up

Some states are dropping the GED and searching for an alternative to the high school equivalency test over concerns that the new version coming out next year will be more expensive.

States have the responsibility of issuing high school equivalency certificates or diplomas. They have used the GED (General Education Development) test since the test was created to help World War II veterans returning to the states.

But now 40 states and the District of Columbia may be changing their tune. New York, Montana, and New Hampshire announced last month that they would drop the GED and switch to a new exam over costs. California also started looking into amending regulations to drop the state’s requirement of using the test.

Missouri has already requested bids from test makers and will likely make a decision on them this month. While some states are looking to get rid of the GED entirely, others like Tennessee and New Jersey are looking at the possibility of offering more than one testing option.

Next year’s test is expected to be more costly because the new version will no longer be offered in a pencil and paper format. The formatting change could require schools to procure extra testing equipment that they cannot currently afford. Amy Riker, director of high school equivalency testing for Educational Testing Service, which developed one of the possible test alternatives, stated:

“It’s a complete paradigm shift because the GED has been the monopoly. It’s been the only thing in town for high school equivalency testing. It’s kind of like Kleenex at this point.”

The announcement of some states dropping the GED comes as the test’s maker, GED Testing Service, moves to introduce the new version in January. It is the first revamp since for-profit Pearson Vue Testing acquired a joint ownership interest in the nonprofit Washington-based service.

Because of the changes, the test cost is doubling to $120. The price led to sticker shock for test-takers, nonprofits, and states. Some states try to subsidize all or some of the cost of the exam, though others add an administrative fee.

Do you think states should drop the GED and offer an alternative test?

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