Posted by Christy Williams on April 12th, 2016
Scoring requirements on the GEDⓇ exam have not gone unnoticed by adult educators or students. The higher standards implemented in 2014 resulted in fewer students passing the GEDⓇ test, leaving educators wondering how to help students succeed. Testing officials analyzed the data, coming to the conclusion to lower the required passing score. The effects have been felt by many adult ed institutions across the nation.
Changes to the old version of the GEDⓇ test, as well as the new tests arriving on scene, are causing fundamental changes at the heart of adult education. In the past, a high school dropout could simply take the GEDⓇ test to earn the appropriate accreditation to get a decent job. Today, it’s not that easy. In fact, many states don’t require a high school exit exam to get a diploma, leaving students who previously failed a portion of the GEDⓇ exam without a diploma while current students walk away with the necessary credentials. These complications are costing a lot of money at the state level as well as causing confusion for students and educators alike.
In response to higher test standards, Kentucky is choosing to lower the passing score on the GEDⓇ test. Since the new version launched in January 2014, more students are unable to pass the exam. Kentucky is among several states choosing to lower the required passing score from 150 to 145. The decision follows the recommendation of the GEDⓇ Testing Service, who collected data showing that typical high school graduates were actually needing more remedial help in college than those who passed the new GEDⓇ test.
For educators and students in Madison, WI, the effects of higher expectations on the high school equivalency test are all too real. In fact, out of 28 students enrolled in Omega School, only one student passed the new GEDⓇ test. Executive Director at Omega points to changes to the exam as the cause of the dismal test results. The school is continuing to add instructional time and align curriculum with GEDⓇ test content. School officials also believe the recent decision to lower the overall required passing score on the GEDⓇ exam from 150 to 145 will help more students pass.
In recent years, adult educators and students seeking high school equivalency across the country have endured the upheaval of changes to the GEDⓇ exam. In response to so many students failing the exam, the GEDⓇ Testing Service recently lowered the required passing score on the exam. Although the lowered score allows more students to pass, it also brings up a more fundamental question: What is the purpose of a high school diploma? Educational policy makers must remember that a high school diploma is equivocally linked with pursuing a college degree. Many students who earn a GEDⓇ credential will move into the workforce without furthering a formal education.
Many states across the country are rejoicing at the decision to revamp the passing score of the new GEDⓇ exam. Mississippi, for example, is in the process of sending out hundreds of letters to previous students who failed the GEDⓇ test when the required score was 150 points. However, these same students would qualify as passing under the new standard of 145 points. The changes are encouraging for former and current students, who are inspired by the success of former peers.