OUR VIEW: Difficulties loom with GED testing
On Jan. 1, the General Education Development (GED) test will undergo significant changes.
These new changes can be alarming to North Carolinians including those in Rutherford County who look to the GED to fulfill high school graduation requirements.
The Adult High School at Isothermal Community College reported about 170 GED graduates in 2012-13 with another 101 thus far in 2013-14.
But changes in the program could drop those numbers, leaving those seeking a high school diploma through the process out in the cold.
One of the biggest changes will be the cost of the test.
At present, the cost to take the five tests required to obtain a GED is $35 per student. When the changes are implemented, that cost will rise to $120 for all tests — only four.
Additionally, students seeking a GED will only have the option of taking the tests on a computer. North Carolina offers the test on paper currently, however that will go by the wayside. That means anyone taking the test will have to be proficient on a computer or find a way to become proficient prior to taking the test.
Another change will be the structure of the tests.
There are five subjects covered in five separate tests which are required to receive a GED. Under the new system, the tests will become more aligned with the Common Core standards used by North Carolina public schools. The number of tests will be reduced to four, but the level of knowledge needed to pass the tests is expected to be greater.
One last thing is students who don't finish their tests by Dec. 31 will have to start all over as their previous test scores will expire.
A report by the left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center outlines all of these challenges and goes a step further by indicating there are more than 800,000 adults in the state who have no high school diploma, leaving a GED as the lone option to receive that precious piece of paper.
Under the new standards, the tests will be harder, all electronic and cost more.
One important thing to note is we are not adverse to a high level of education. We also applaud those who make the choice to better themselves by furthering their education.
We understand that, in our ever-changing world, the standards of education have to be changed.
The point of contention is the willingness to leave low-income adults at a disadvantage to reach for those higher standards.
By increasing the cost of the GED tests, the backlash could be that some adults may bypass attempting to earn a high school diploma simply because they can't afford it.
We hope that isn't the case.
It also bears mentioning the need for an education in today's high-tech job market.
In the end, we have to ensure we give our adult learners the ability to get the basic educational needs required to fill the jobs that Rutherford County and the rest of the state are trying to bring.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Alex Moore, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark