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The New 2014 GED(R) Exam

Page history last edited by mark.trushkowsky@mail.cuny.edu 10 years, 5 months ago

The State Education Department of NY is moving away from the GED exam...


Because of many of the issues explained below, the NYS Department of Education has decided to offer an alternative assessment to the GED exam. It was announced in March 2013 that CTB/McGraw Hill was awarded the contract to provide this new test. The new test is called the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) and will begin in January of 2014. Passing the TASC would earn students the same credential they earn if they pass the GED exam - a NYS High School Equivalency Diploma. The cost of this new test (and only this new test) will be covered by State Ed. As such, our students will be taking this new assessment, and NOT the new GED exam.


Click here for more information on the TASC 


It is possible that at a future date, that the GED® will be offered in New York State in addition to the TASC. But as of now, the GED will not be offered in new York State starting in January of 2014.



Summary of Changes to the GED® Exam 


Change of Ownership

Until recently, the GED® test was developed by the staff of the General Educational Development Testing 

Services (GEDTS), a division of the American Council of Education (ACE), located in Washington, D.C.   The 

GED® Testing Service was a nonprofit organization.  


In 2011, the GED® Testing service merged with Pearson, a for-profit corporation.  Pearson produces educational 

materials and services, such as textbooks and tests, and can be found in more than 70 countries worldwide.


Every so often, the GED ® Testing Service updates the GED® exam.  The first GED® exam was in 1942.  Since 

then the exam has been updated three times – in 1978, 1988 and 2002.  A new update was scheduled for 2012, but 

then it was postponed because of some big changes in the field of education.  Policymakers across the country say we need to raise educational standards.  A set of standards for the K-12 system was released in 2010 called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  The makers of the Common Core Standards say that the CCCS will help students be "career and college ready" when they graduate from high school.  The Common Core standards are higher than the standards that existed before.


According to the GED Testing Service, they wanted to change more than just the content of the GED ® test.  

They say they were developing new standards for the GED® exam when the Common Core State Standards came 

out.  The GED® Testing Service decided that they could not make the changes they wanted on their own.  So, the 

GED ® Testing Service, which was formerly a nonprofit agency, joined with Pearson in order to have the funding 

they needed to create the new GED ® test.  There is still a lot that we don’t know about how the decision was 

made to make the GED® Testing Service a for-profit entity.  


This article explores some of the implications of the GED test being owned by a private, for-profit entity - The GED: Public Good or Private Sector Trove? by Lazar Treschan (City Lights, March 19, 2012)


Change in Cost

Corporations exist to make a profit.  One result of the merger between GED® Testing Service and Pearson is that 

the new test which will be more expensive.  


NY state has a law that says that students cannot be charged to take the G.E.D. exam.  New York is one of the only states to legislate a state subsidy of the G.E.D. test.  For the current test, the state pays about $60 a pop, which comes from the state Education Department GED testing budget, which is about $3 million, resulting in roughly 50,000 G.E.D. test takers tested in New York every year.  The GEDTS/Pearson has announced that the new test will cost $120 a pop, double what NY State Ed. pays for the current exam.  To cover the gap, the state would need to either double the amount it spends on testing or cut the number of people who take it in half.


Change in Scope

Another result of the merger with Pearson will be that the GED® test won’t just be a test anymore.  The GED® Testing Service, merged with Pearson, will create ―a national test preparation program called the GED® 21st Century Initiative.  This will possibly include on-line instruction, workbooks, and tests that tell you whether you are ready for the GED® test or not.  It is likely that many of these services will not be free.  The GED Testing Service has already started charging test-takers to see practice GED questions.  The GED® test has historically been a gateway to college and better employment opportunities for countless out of school youth and adults.  The keys to that gateway are now controlled by a for-profit organization.




For More Information

From the GED Testing Service (R) 


The GED Testing Service (GEDTS) is responsible for the development, implementation and scoring of the GED test.  They have recently become a for-profit entity through a partnership with Pearson.  In general, their website is good to check out every once in a while for any updates on the release of the new GED exam. 


  • They have prepared a "Assessment Guide for Educators" to explain the new GED test.  The guide was released in three chapters, all of which can be downloaded here.


Chapter One of the "Assessment Guide for Educators" talks about the different kinds of question formats to expect on the coming GED exam.


Chapter Two looks at the content and assessment targets for each subject area (Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies)


Chapter Three looks at the scoring for the Short Answer writing and the rubrics for scoring both the literacy and social studies essays.  Chapter Three also looks at the "reporting category descriptions" for each content area - this has to do with the additional information the GEDTS wants to give students who fail a subject area. 


  • Click here to learn more about The GED(R) Testing Service 
  • Click here to watch the tutorial for using the new computer-based GED exam coming in 2014. 
  • Click here to see the 2014 GED Test Item Samplers.  On October 24, 2012, the GEDTS® released a "clarification regarding the item samplers and difficulty of the 2014 GED® test" - read it here

Learning More about Pearson


Pearson deep and recent expansion into education has been in the news a lot in the past few years.  Click on this link to peruse articles looking into their activities, including their long history of testing problems; the wide range of public school testing contracts they've been given; their expansion into online classrooms, textbooks and teaching certification; their being under investigation by the NY Attorney General for allegedly acting improperly to influence state education policy.

Additional Resources


  • The Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center dedicated the entire Winter/Spring 2012 publication, Progress, to providing some background on the coming 2014 G.E.D. exam.  The issue provides a good introduction to many of the changes.  Click here to read the it.











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