The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Adult Education Division is preparing for major changes to the General Educational Development (GED) test to take effect in 2014.
“We encourage eligible Tennesseans who have not earned their GED to do so now,” said Commissioner Karla Davis. “Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the GED test will cost more, must be taken on a computer, and will contain significant content changes.”
The GED test is undergoing its biggest overhaul since the credentialing test began in 1942. The revised test will measure knowledge and core skills that more closely reflect Common Core State Standards, which is the body of information young people are expected to learn in school and need for success in college and the workforce.
Standards go up for the test to remain a valid option to identify skills demanded by employers and postsecondary schools. The 2014 test will be more rigorous in general and requires higher level math proficiency. As before, the new GED test covers subject areas – writing, reading, science, social studies, and math.
“The quality of the labor force is one of the most important factors that employers look at when they think about locating in a state, specifically, the education of the people who make up the labor force and their ability to deliver on the job,” said Marva Doremus, Labor and Workforce Development administrator for Adult Education. “An educated workforce is critical to our future as a state. The only way we can grow Tennessee’s economy is with the right workers. Last year, 56.6% of those issued a GED credential in Tennessee were between the ages of 17 and 25. These individuals have 50 years to be in the workforce. We need to move them forward into postsecondary or other job training programs.”
Commissioner Davis added, “New jobs are not being created for those without a high school education. Unemployment rates are inversely related to the level of education a person has achieved. The more education a person has, the less likely he is to be unemployed. The same is true of income – the income differences between a person who does not have a high school diploma or GED and a person who does are striking.”
Other important points:
· People who have not passed all parts of the current GED test before the end of the current GED test series, i.e., by Dec. 31, 2013, will have to start over when the 2014 edition begins.
· Presently the fee for taking the GED averages $65. When the GED test becomes computer-based in 2014, the fee will be a minimum of $120.
Last year 12,047 Tennesseans earned GEDs. Tennessee still has 900,000 to one million adults without a high school diploma. Almost 29,000 students dropped out of high school in 2011.
To help existing GED Test Centers transition from the old paper-based testing format to computer-based testing, Tennessee is offering three pilot programs for people to take the current GED test before the launch of the new 2014 series. Test Centers at UT-Martin, Tennessee State University, and Walters State Community College are taking part in the pilot program. The fee to take the test at one of the pilot centers is $120.
For further information on obtaining a GED, contact the GED Office in the Adult Education Division of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, 615 741-7054, or e-mail Susan.Doughty@tn.gov.