GED requirements changes ushered in with 2014

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Jan. 6, 2014

The New Year has ushered in significant changes in the way people can seek high school credentials through GED testing. Those changes are proving to be successful ones for many taking the computerized test. Gone are the paper and pencil tests, the rigidly scheduled test dates and the usually large groups gathering to take the exam. Under new guidelines, Connecticut residents can opt to take the GED test on their own timeframe, in a small group and move along at their own pace. 

EASTConn Adult Program Coordinator Phyllis Bonneau said the ramped up test requires people to think more by raising the bar on skills sets required. “The test is more analytical,” she said. “This new test assumes you have some basic knowledge. Old tests didn’t look at technology. The new one requires that you have some level of computer skills.”

Proponents of the new test say it is a better measure of a host of skills that people need in order to be successful. It requires higher order thinking, has fewer multiple choice questions and requires test takers to write out some answers.

“Research proves that you need more than smarts to do well,” education correspondent Emily Hanford said in a recent NPR interview. Working hard, persistence and getting along with others all count. Graduating from high school is one way of measuring such skills. But these are the kinds of skills hard to measure in old paper and pen tests.  

“What we found is people are much more successful taking tests on the computer,” Bonneau said. She pointed to several reasons why: individuals can go at their own pace; they can flag a question on the exam and go back to it; they can take the test in a small group; and they can schedule the test in parts or in whole and do it according to their work schedules.

“It’s more customer-friendly,” Bonneau said. You don’t have to wait for a large group of people to finish a portion of the test before being allowed to move on. You can schedule a test anywhere in the state, and each test site is allowed to set up their testing times. It’s much more flexible than the old GED test.

The new GED won’t be easier for all test takers. State residents have two other options to get credentials, the National External Diploma program and the Adult High School Credit Diploma program. For someone who is more comfortable working one-on-one with an advisor, who has strong work employment or life skills that are equivalent to high school diploma skills and functions well in the working world, the national program might be the best choice. For someone just shy of graduation credits, the high school diploma program might be best. There are benefits to each, and EASTCONN staff will advise individuals what those benefits are.

“In Connecticut, you’re only allowed one diploma, so it’s important to think about what program serves you best,” Bonneau said.
EASTCONN offers three different options for adults seeking a high school credential: the GED diploma, the Adult High School Credit Diploma program, and the National External Diploma program. They also offer free GED prep and computer classes to help individuals get up to speed on their skills.

For more information, contact Rich Tariss, EASTCONN Director of Adult Programs at 860-455-0707 or visit www.eastconn.org.


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