National GED® test changes have positive impact on Georgia students

National scoring system enhancements mean almost 1,900 former Georgia GED® test-takers now eligible to pass; others can earn college credits more quickly

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Almost 1,900 Georgia students may achieve a passing grade on their GED® Test thanks to new scoring enhancements by the national GED® Testing Service. The passing score for high school equivalency has been recalibrated from 150 to 145, which means that 1,880 Georgia students who, since Jan. 1, 2014, have received scores from 145 to 149, may now be eligible for Georgia’s high school equivalency credential. In addition, the enhancements provide a path for some test-takers to receive college credits.

“These changes mean that more highly-qualified individuals in Georgia have the opportunity to access higher education or enter the workforce,” said Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. “Not only is this great news for our adult education students, but it’s great news for Georgia, bringing us closer to our Complete College Georgia goal set by Gov. Deal and expanding the workforce pipeline for our companies.”

The enhanced program will also include two optional levels above high school equivalency to signify college readiness, and for some test-takers the opportunity to earn college credits. Under the new GED® “College Ready” performance level, 3,639 Georgia students have a score of 165 to 174 in at least one or more of the four subject tests and may now be considered ready to enter credit-bearing college courses. The other performance level, GED® “College Ready + Credit,” may qualify 685 Georgia students with at least one or more scores of 175 – 200 for college credit, while 22 students scored 175 – 200 on all subjects and may qualify for up to ten hours of college credit.

“The scoring enhancements are based on an extensive analysis of test-takers’ performance data from the past 18 months, conversations with state policymakers and elected officials, and external validation with experts,” said GED® Testing Service President Randy Trask. “This is part of our ongoing commitment to make data-based decisions, and continually improve the efficacy of the GED® program.”

The scoring enhancement is driven in part by the GED® Testing Service’s detailed analysis of educational outcomes of GED® program graduates compared to high school graduates over the past 18 months. The test remains the same and continues to be fully aligned to state college and career readiness standards, measuring the key problem solving and critical thinking skills vital to success in jobs and career or college training programs.  As always, the passing score of the GED® test will continue to be used to measure high school equivalency and to award a state’s GED® credential. In Fiscal Year 2015, 14,468 individuals in Georgia took at least one section of the GED test. Of the 7,348 people who took all four sections of the test, 4,781 graduated: a 65 percent pass rate.

“The two most important things about a high school equivalency exam are providing the best prep possible to our students through well-trained instructors and accessible free class locations, and ensuring that the exam is a validated credible measure of high school equivalency. That way Georgia’s employers and colleges know they’re getting employees and students with the true competence of a high school graduate,” said Beverly Smith, TCSG Assistant Commissioner for Adult Education. “We know that for individuals without a high school diploma or a GED®, the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent higher and average annual income is $10,000 less than for those with these credentials, so these enhancements are game-changers for GED® graduates.”

Georgia GED® students and educators can expect to see the changes implemented starting on March 1, when scores, score reports, and other information will be available on GED.com.  Georgia GED® graduates effected by this change should receive their diplomas and transcripts by mid-March.  TCSG’s Office of Adult Education will reach out to students not currently enrolled in classes to notify them of the changes.