2013-01-09 / Local News

Big changes — cost and credits — coming to GED in 2014

By SCOTT POWELL Ledger Staff Writer spowell@gaffneyledger.com

County residents are on notice to pass the current GED exam before their work counts for nothing in 2014.

Students who need to finish the GED exam to earn a high school equivalency diploma must pass the national test by the end of this year. Otherwise, students face the unpleasant reality of losing all their test scores and having to start over in 2014 with a tougher, more costly test that will require computer skills.

The current 5-part exam introduced by the GED Testing Service in 2002 will disappear on Jan. 1, 2014. The GED consists of tests in reading, math, science, social studies and writing.

The test fee increases from the current rate of $81 to $120 for the 2014 GED test. It will be given solely on computer.

There are many adults in Cherokee County who have passed four of the five parts on the current GED test, but continue to struggle with the math portion, Cherokee County adult education teacher Beth Martin said. These students can continue to take the current version this year. Due to state testing regulations, students have limited opportunities to pass the GED exam.

This year’s GED testing dates offered locally are March 2, April 27, Oct. 12 and Nov. 9 at the Cherokee County Adult Education Center at 243 Allison Drive in Gaffney.

“You can’t take the test but three times in a calendar year,” Martin said.

The new GED exam will be based on Common Core education standards adopted by 47 states, including South Carolina. It was developed by the nonprofit American Council of Education, which oversees the GED Testing Service, in a joint venture with for-profit education testing company Pearson Vue.

A standardized study will be done this fall to ensure the new GED exam matches the current performance level of high school seniors. In other words, 60 percent of seniors graduating in the United States would be able to pass the 2014 GED test.

Still, Cherokee County Adult Education Director Lisa Hannon is concerned the updated GED exam could prove more challenging for adults who have been out of school for a long time and are not comfortable with basic computer skills. For instance, a Texas Instruments scientific calculator and a formula sheet are among the tools adults will have to use on their computers while taking the new math test.

“The new GED can be taken only on a computer. There is no more pencil and paper version,” Hannon said.

The Cherokee County Adult Education Center plans to incorporate more basic computer skills instruction into classes held this year to help prepare students for the GED exam, Hannon said. Students pay a $20 activity fee to enroll in classes.

Classes are offered in the daytime Monday through Thursday. Evening classes are available Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5-8 p.m. at Blacksburg High and the Cherokee County Adult Education Center in Gaffney.

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