Higher standards put in place for GED
Anyone who has started the process of getting his or her high school equivalency is encouraged to complete it before the end of the year.
A new computer-based GED test will replace the current test in 2014 — the first change in more than a decade.
"The new test will unveil a new way of taking the exam," said Jess Modesto, chief examiner of the Glenn Adult Program testing center at the Glenn County Office of Education. "Currently, GED tests are taken with paper and pencil, but they will soon be computer-based and administered online."
The new test will cover more content in social studies, science, mathematics and literacy, driven largely by the shift to the new Common Core standards in education.
"The new GED test will better measure a person's preparedness for entering the workforce," Modest said.
The Glenn County GED testing center is only among a handful in Northern California, and serves mostly students in Glenn, Colusa, Tehama and western Butte counties.
It is the only testing center in the area that offers the GED test in Spanish, Modesto sad.
Although Modesto said he doesn't expect the new test to be particularly harder than the current test, it may be a challenge to older adults who aren't as computer savvy as their younger counterparts who have grown up with technology.
One of the particular components that is expected to be more rigorous, however, is the critical analysis portion of the test, which would require students to read a portion and provide more detailed reasoning and comparisons.
It's the same challenge all students and educators will face in the shift to Common Core standards.
"Change is never easy," Modesto said. "Change is hard."
The advantages of switching to the online format is the speed at which the tests are graded, and the ability to determine the test taker's strengths and weaknesses, which will be a benefit to those looking to go on to college or get a job in a particular field, Modesto said.
As with the current test, each component must be passed, but the student will not have to pass them all at the same time, meaning they can continue to take each subject test throughout a period.
There is, however, no grace period for those in the process of taking the current battery of five tests, which must be completed before Dec. 31.
"If they don't finish, they will have to start completely over in 2014," Modesto said. "They will lose their scores on the tests they've already passed."
Modesto does not recommend anyone looking to begin the current GED test to start after May 1, unless absolutely necessary for work or entering the military.
The last testing opportunity for the current GED is Dec. 14.
"The GED test opens doors to college, better jobs, the respect adults deserve and the satisfaction of earning a high school credential," Modesto said.
Modesto had about 60 adults in the program last year, many of whom elected to don cap and gowns at the Testing Center's graduation.
Modesto said the Office of Education is committed to helping adults pass the test.
He is also working with the Colusa County Office of Education to possibly deliver GED services at the Williams education center, but that will depend largely on finances.
Most GED testing centers throughout the country, including Colusa County's, have closed because offices were unable to break even on costs.
"We are going to do whatever we can to keep our North Central testing center open," Modesto said.
Costs associated with the new delivery of GED tests have not yet been determined, he said.
The current battery of tests cost the adult student $175.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.