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Some states drop GED as digital test price rises

By
Kristen Butler, UPI.com
Residents of The Healing Place, a homeless shelter in Louisville, Kentucky, gather around a new computer donated by Aetna US Healthcare to help the homeless become part of the computer age. They will be able to take courses to obtain their GED, high school equivalency diploma, to help them get jobs and return to society. (File/jr/Mike Williams/UPI)
Residents of The Healing Place, a homeless shelter in Louisville, Kentucky, gather around a new computer donated by Aetna US Healthcare to help the homeless become part of the computer age. They will be able to take courses to obtain their GED, high school equivalency diploma, to help them get jobs and return to society. (File/jr/Mike Williams/UPI) | License Photo

The General Education and Development exam, or GED, has had a near-monopoly on testing high school equivalency since it was introduced for returning veterans in 1942. The test will go digital next year, and will be for-profit for the first time, prompting some states to look for a lower price elsewhere.

The American Council on Education, the GED’s nonprofit administrator, partnered with Pearson, the world’s largest education and testing company, to redesign the test. Updated to reflect current demands of college and the workplace, administrators say computer literacy is a key skill demonstrated in the new assessment.

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The new GED will cost $120, more than twice what many states now charge for the paper-based exam. Now, The Washington Post reports that several states are looking for competition.

New York was the first state to drop the GED, contracting in March with McGraw Hill for another equivalency exam called the “Test Assessing Secondary Completion.” Montana and New Hampshire are contracting with Educational Testing Service, which is developing the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).

Now Virginia is considering its options, though Pearson already administers the state's Standards of Learning tests each year, under a three-year contract worth $110 million.

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“It was difficult to really look at these other options when you have someone who is already tried and true,” said Susan Clair, director of Virginia’s Office of Adult Education and Literacy.

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