Arkansas was one of a few states that offered the General Educational Development (GED®) test at no cost to the student, but because of changes on the national level that require state-level compliance, that has changed.

As it is currently, the same test battery is administered nationwide, but how each state handles the funding and whether test-takers pay a fee varies. “The new test will cost more money than Arkansas has traditionally been able to absorb, therefore, some of the test’s costs will be borne by the student beginning in 2014,” Hanlon said. The cost of the GED® exam for students is now $16.00.

The program is under the authority of the Arkansas Department of Career Education and serves Arkansans who are 16 years or older, not enrolled in or graduated from high school, and who meet other state requirements regarding residency and testing eligibility.

“The GED® test is undergoing a significant change in Arkansas and in the entire country,” says Janice Hanlon, Arkansas’s GED Administrator.

“Every few years, the GED Testing Service® begins a new testing series. We’ve been using the same test module since 2002, but in January 2014, the test will be updated to reflect the common core educational standards required of today’s high school graduates.”

Those standards include problem solving, computer skills and more advanced math skills. When a student earns a GED® diploma, they are expected to have knowledge and skills equivalent to current-day graduating high school seniors.

“Those who have taken the current 2002 Series GED® test, but not passed all five parts will need to start over again in 2014 with the new GED® test in order to receive their high school credential,” said Hanlon.

In addition to the content itself, the test-taking method will change according to national standards. The new test battery will be administered by computer, no longer by pencil and paper, beginning in January 2014. Requiring computer-based testing is part of the effort to ensure those who graduate with a GED® credential are ready for the demands of today’s workforce.

“Basic computer literacy is a must for most anyone who hopes to get a job or advance in today’s work environment. Our adult education centers are already helping their students with computer literacy and will incorporate those skills into their GED® preparation classes,” Hanlon said.

“Our adult education centers across the state will be equipped with the proper computer-based testing environment in order to comply with the new national requirements, but that’s not where the cost comes in,” Hanlon said. The GED preparation classes will continue to be free.

The new test battery to be released in 2014 is being managed and produced by the GED Testing Service®, as in the past, but they have formed a new partnership with Pearson, a global leader in education and testing. The new GED® program they’ve developed will not only reflect the common core standards, but will include a new feature that will indicate college and career readiness.

Test-takers will be provided with a report showing their proficiency in various academic skills. That personalized inventory will help guide the student as they pursue postsecondary education or a new job by highlighting their strengths and areas that need improvement.

For information about GED® classes in the Conway and Perry County area please call Trecia Willcutt at UACCM Adult Education: 501-215-4905.

The Arkansas Department of Career Education (ACE) has the mission of providing leadership and contributing resources to serve the diverse and changing career educational needs of Arkansas youth, adults, and persons living with disabilities.

The UACCM Community Education Center (CEC) offers GED Testing Services® for Conway and Perry Counties. For more information about the test or about other services provided by the CEC, contact Janie Wagner at 501-215-4904 or visit the center at 600 North Saint Joseph Street in Morrilton.


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