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Changes to the GED are Coming in 2014

November 26, 2013

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – North Carolinians in the process of getting their GED will have to buckle down and finish before the end of the year to avoid losing credit for their work so far.

The General Education Development test is changing in January, and Rebecca Loli, coordinator for adult basic education and GED programs for AB Tech in Asheville, says it means those in the middle of getting their certificate don't have much time left.

"If they have not fully completed the GED by the end of this year, their scores expire and they will need to start over on the 2014 GED series," she explains.

In 2014, after 70 years of being administered by a nonprofit organization, the GED program will become a public-private partnership with Pearson VUE, the largest testing company in the nation.

A report released this month by the NC Justice Center says the changes to the test may have a disproportionate impact on low-income and low-skilled adults.

More than 800,000 working-age adults in North Carolina lack a high school diploma.

The new GED will only be available by computer, making it less accessible to communities without up-to-date technology and people without the technical skills to take the test, explains Loli.

"Before, you might have been able to pack up your paper and pencil, test booklets and go and administer a bunch of tests,” she concedes. “Now you have to have it set up as a computer-based, official test center. "

Loli adds the new system also will test more cognitive reasoning skills than the current version.

As a result, AB Tech and other community colleges are increasing the number of teacher-led GED classes to help students with the transition.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC