Posted 03/03/2013: When people said the legislative session was a whole new game, I really underestimated what that would mean. Tuesdays and Thursdays have taken on a whole new meaning. When I wake up at the crack of dawn its with an entirely different mentality than when I wake up for classes, and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. It took until my junior year for me to find a niche and immerse myself in journalism, and the Capitol is hands down the best environment to do that in. But enough with me, back to the news.
If you go to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website for the GED, there is a countdown box in the upper right hand corner. By the second, its ticking down the time to January 1, 2014. When it finally reaches zero the General Educational Development test will be 72, and will be replaced by an entirely different test established by the for-profit company Pearson VUE.
The GED was created in 1942 as a way for the military to test recruits for a high school level competency. It was developed by the American Council on Education, who still run it today. In Missouri, passing the GED will earn you a High School Level Equivalency certificate. To employers its essentially the same as a high school diploma. Since its inception its undergone four updates in content and format to adjust to changes in education and the labor force.
But to say the 2014 switch is an 'update' would be a gross understatement. Its being scrapped, literally. Not only is the format and content completely changed, but the pencil and paper version will be exactly what pencils and papers have been becoming in the digital age, a thing of the past.
The GED will be entirely computer based, and it will mean a higher price tag for people wanting to take the test. In Missouri it costs $40 to take the current test, when the countdown is up, it will cost at least $120, according to Pearson's website.
It will also mean that taking the test will require a certain proficiency in computer skills. Since the test is taken primarily by those with low income, even some who have never owned a computer, this change could make the test a more daunting task for some.
GED spokesman CT Turner said the partnership will be the biggest investment in education since the 1960s, but what will this really mean for future Missourians trying to get their High School Equivalency Certificate?
I'll be addressing this in the coming weeks. My goal is to get a background on how this will affect test providers, adult educators, and most of all, those who have or will need to take the test in the future.
Turner said this will be a positive step for American education and will increase its competitiveness on the global stage. But some people are skeptical, and even Missouri hasn't officially decided to adopt it, it issued a request for proposal for an alternative High School Equivalency Exam. As the process develops, the next steps taken by DESE, other states and Missouri lawmakers will set the stage for whats going to be a drastic facelift for American education.
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