GED switch deters some test-takers

Feb 12, 2015

  Results are in for the first year of New York state’s new replacement for the GED. The goal of the new test is to lower costs and gradually phases in national Common Core standards.

New York replaced the GED because the test’s price tag was set to double this year. The new test gives students the same credentials – the equivalent of a high school diploma. Statewide pass rates are down by four percent after the switch, compared to 2012. The number of test-takers also fell by half.

Bruce Carmel, director at the Bronx Youth Center and a co-chair at the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy, says there was a lot of misinformation about the new test.

“You heard some people saying, ‘Oh, there’s no more GED,’” he says. “So when people heard there was no more GED test, a lot of people thought it was over and you couldn’t get your high school equivalency diploma anymore.”

Carmel expects the number of test-takers to go back up next year. He says students seem to find the new test harder. But, at least at his testing center in the Bronx, their scores don’t show it.

“They come out of the test feeling discouraged, and feeling like they didn’t do well, but they’re passing at the same rate,” he says.

Local test-takers had similarly positive results.

“I would say that our pass rate was higher than we anticipated,” says Charles Wheeler, adult literacy director at the Broome-Tioga BOCES.  “Our pass rate for candidates going through our preparation program was around 73 percent.”

Wheeler says if you include students who didn’t take the prep course, the local rate still surpasses the state average of just over 50 percent.

The new exam also phases in computerized testing and is half as expensive as the 2014 GED.