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GED® test is moving from paper to computer

April 15, 2013

Starting Jan. 1, the GED® exam that those who did not graduate from high school rely on to earn a high school equivalency credential will change to a computerized format.

That means two things for people seeking a GED® certification: First, people preparing to take the exam next year must make sure they have the computer skills necessary to take the test; and, second, those who already have completed part of the GED® exam must be completely finished by Dec. 13, 2013, or their test scores will expire.

There is plenty of good news, though. Students will be able to get most of their scores reported immediately, with the exception of the essay sections. Also, a pilot study showed that students pass the computer-based exams at a higher rate compared with the written exams.

Students may register for the test directly online and can schedule their exams at any test center.

The GED® test contains five parts that can be taken separately, but must all be passed to receive a high school credential. Test-takers who have started the 2002 Series GED® Test but not finished and passed every section have until December to do so. Otherwise, their scores will expire, and they will have to start over again with the new 2014 GED® test.

Sharon Miles, director of adult education and literacy services for CCRI’s Workforce Partnerships, said Community College of Rhode Island’s Liston Campus in Providence and Flanagan Campus in Lincoln are the largest GED® test centers in the state. “This whole transition is going to touch a lot of people,” she said.

Miles said the ability to use a computer on the GED® should be helpful to most students. They will type with a keyboard during the essay sections and use convenient computer word processing actions such as digitally copying, erasing and moving large sections of text. They will be able to “drag and drop” information and answers on the exams. In addition, an embedded computer calculator will be available for parts of the math section. Computer testing tutorials are planned at CCRI but are not yet in place.

The computerized GED® also comes with new grading standards. A high enough score will certify that an exam taker is college or career ready.

“The fact that somebody can walk away from this with a credential that says he or she is college or career ready will be a big bonus,” Miles said.

“Everything with this new test is changing,” said Angela Salvadore, director of CCRI’s Transition Pathways College Readiness Program. “The scoring is changing, the teaching methods are changing – it’s like a 180-degree change from the written test.”

Students who want to finish the traditional written GED® test by the end of this year must finish their pre-testing by Nov. 1. The pre-test is completed with an adviser who certifies that the student is prepared for the GED® exam. If not, he or she will be referred to appropriate preparation classes.

Contact CCRI’s Workforce Partnerships to register for the GED® or the pre-test or to learn more about CCRI’s adult education services for people who want to prepare for the GED® examination. The offices can be reached by phone at 401-825-2014 (Warwick), 333-7070 (Lincoln) or 455-6019 (Providence) and are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday. The pre-test and the GED® exams are given only at the Providence and Lincoln campuses.

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Last Updated: 8/25/16