Changes spur record year for GED program

Test will be harder and more expensive in 2014
Jul. 11, 2013 @ 11:43 PM

Revisions to Tennessee's General Education Development high school equivalency test have encouraged numerous locals to get their certificates before the end of the year.

The adult high school in Sevierville experienced a record year of students earning a GED, with 200 Sevier County residents earning the certificate in 2012-2013. Principal Curtis Clabo said this is the largest number for a single year in the 26 years of the program's existence.

After Jan. 1, 2014, the exam will increase in difficulty, be more expensive, and must be taken on a computer.

The anticipated changes will reflect modifications in state standards of education that have occurred over the past 10 years. The redesigned test is intended to be a more accurate measure of what students are currently expected to learn in preparation for college or a career.

"It will be advantageous for Sevier County residents without a GED to enroll in classes now and earn a GED before Jan. 1," Clabo said. "For the average student, there is still enough time to enroll and pass the exam prior to Jan. 1. However, time is running out."

Changes to the current test structure may pose problems for those who have passed some, but not all parts of the GED. Beginning in 2014, current test scores will be nontransferable to the new high school equivalency test.

Steve Petty, a teacher at the adult high school, said, "We really want to encourage people and get the word out to get people enrolled in the next three or four months. If people move quickly, they still have time."

"We're urging everyone who has a portion of the GED test not completed and/or passed to register and finish the test now, because all partial scores will no longer be valid after Jan. 1, 2014," said Melva Doremus, state administrator for adult education. "In addition, the new GED test goes to all-computer-based, and the cost goes up to $120. Our preparation classes are filling up quickly as people prepare to get in under the wire."

While there is no registration deadline, Doremus cautions test-takers to sign up as quickly as possible.

The GED Testing Service maintains that over a million adults across the nation have started, but not completed, the current test. Statewide, more than 930,000 adults lack a high school diploma or its equivalent.

For more information about the current test and available preparation courses, contact the Sevier County Adult Education Program at 429-5243. All courses and test preparation are offered free of charge. The program is jointly funded by the State of Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Sevier County Schools. n

jfrye@themountainpress.com