For those working on their GEDs, time is running out.
New testing rules that go into effect on Jan. 2, 2014 require people who have partially completed the exam, but have not yet passed all five subjects, to pass the entire exam by the end of this year. If they fail, they must start all over.
The reason for the change, according to Juanita Bowers, lead teacher of the Adult Education Program, is modernization. The tests are presently of the pencil-and-paper variety, but starting next year they will be computerized.
“The new test won’t be compatible with the old ones,” said Bowers. “The new tests are also going to be more difficult for older students; they don’t have the computer skills of the younger students. There will be cutting and pasting, and students will need typing skills of at least 20 words per minute.”
In an effort to help students who aren’t computer savvy, Bowers said the Adult Education Program is offering computer instruction.
“The present test is mostly multiple-choice, but the new one will require short answers. It will require students to know a little more than A, B, or C,” she added.
There are currently five subjects to be completed; however, the new version of the GED will have just four, due to reading and writing being combined into language arts. The other subjects – math, science and social studies – remain constant for both the old and new versions, but Bowers said she fears the new math test will be more difficult.
In addition, the company responsible for the new GED tests are “keeping it under wraps,” according to Bowers. “We haven’t got any up front information to get the students ready.”
Bowers said she has been trying to get the news of the change in testing to any many students as possible.
“I think I have sent out something like 200 letters to students who have not taken all five parts or not passed all five parts, but it’s been hard to keep up with them,” she said.
Bowers added that many of the 200 students receiving letters lack just one test to complete their GEDs.
Although the form the GED exam will take is a large change, there is another, one that makes the process more costly.
“Not only is the format changing, but the price is more than doubling,” noted Bowers, who pointed out the present fee of $58 will increase to $120 in 2014.
Bowers stressed that anyone trying to complete their GED had better get busy, especially those 30 years and older.
Classes are being offered at three separate times – from 5-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon Monday and Wednesday and noon-3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. All classes are held in room 202 on the lower level of the Regional Alternative Education (RAE) Center, 205 Oak Street, Hillsville.