Changes made to GED test
COLUMBIA – Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education has announced changes to GED testing. “I am pleased that these changes to the GED test and program will open new doors for South Carolina students,” said Spearman. “Our focus is on readiness for college and careers and this is a step in the right direction for the nation and South Carolina,” she added. On Jan. 26, the GED Testing Service announced a recalibration to the GED test passing score and the addition of two new performance levels.
In most states the passing score for high school equivalency is moving from 150 to 145. The GED program will also include two optional levels above high school equivalency to signify college readiness, and for some test-takers the opportunity to earn college credits. The scoring enhancement is driven by a detailed analysis of educational outcomes of GED program graduates compared to high school graduates over the past 18 months.
The passing score of the GED test will continue to be used to measure high school equivalency and to award a state’s GED credential. The two additional performance levels will be called GED College Ready, used to signify readiness to enter credit-bearing college courses; and GED College Ready + Credit, which may qualify students for up to ten hours of college credit. The GED College Ready and GED College Ready + Credit levels will apply to any student who has taken a GED test since Jan. 1, 2014.
GED Testing Service also recommends that states apply retroactively the 145 passing score to test-takers who have tested since January 1, 2014. When a state approves applying the passing score retroactively, students who earned scores between 145-149 on the new GED test launched in January of 2014 would be eligible for their state’s high school equivalency credential. In South Carolina, 571 GED testers will be impacted. Each of the 571 will be awarded their South Carolina High School Equivalency Diploma.
The GED Diplomas based on the new cut score will be dated December 31, 2015. It may take several weeks to perform the required technology updates in order for the new cut scores to be incorporated in the South Carolina State Department of Education’s GED database. Many other GED testers may now be very close to passing the test. Nearly 600 more South Carolinians will soon have their high school credential.
These residents will have the opportunity to continue their education in postsecondary institutions and to increase the opportunity for employment. Since the GED Testing program started in the early 1940s, over 220,000 South Carolina residents have earned a high school diploma via the GED testing program. South Carolina GED Administrator, Dr. David Stout, reports that the number of citizens who earned GED credentials during 2014 and 2015 will increase from 3,512 to 4,083 with the implementation of the new GED cut scores. During 2015, South Carolina’s pass rate on the GED test was 77 percent.
With the inclusion of the additional GED passers, the revised pass rate should be higher. “The scoring enhancements are based on an extensive analysis of test-takers’ performance data from the past 18 months, conversations with state policymakers and elected officials, and external validation with experts,” said GED Testing Service President Randy Trask. “This is part of our ongoing commitment to make data-based decisions, and continually improve the efficacy of the GED program.”
After collecting and analyzing extensive data on test-taker performance and early outcomes, the GED program can now measure the full spectrum of a typical graduating high school class. A graduating class represents a range of ability and performance, from those meeting the minimum requirements to those demonstrating college readiness, and those who may even earn college credits during high school.