Common Core Aligned GED Sees Fewer Participants, More Failures

GEDThe Associated Press reports that it was a rocky first year for the new Common Core-aligned GED test.  Homeschooling families who choose this option take note.

The GED, or General Educational Development test, was overhauled last year to reflect some of the Common Core standards that have been adopted by most states and emphasize critical thinking. In 2014, two new high school equivalency exams that also incorporate some of those standards were introduced by other testing companies.

All three tests require students desiring a diploma to show higher-level skills, such as writing essays using evidence they pull from reading materials they are given. In math, students must interpret data and plot equations to solve problems.

Some of the before-and-after results over the past three years:

— In 2012, before any changes were announced, 581,000 people took the GED, and 69 percent passed.

— In 2013, 713,000 people took the GED, many rushing to get in ahead of the changes, and 76 percent passed.

— In 2014, the first year of the changes, 316,000 people took one of the tests, with about 62 percent passing, regardless of which exam they took.

The new types of questions left some test-takers frustrated.

Larry Gorski, 58, said the warnings that the new TASC test adopted by New York state would be harder than the old GED proved true when he failed in November.

“The math was the hardest part; it was all new stuff. I’m never going to use any of it,” said Gorski, 58, who plans to try again for the diploma he needs to look for new work after the graphics plant where he was a printer for 32 years closed.

Apparently the participation and pass rate are up in 2015, but it’s just April so I wouldn’t get too excited if I were them.  Richard Innes at the Bluegrass Institute offered the following comment on his blog post about the news.  He states the old GED needed work, but the new test isn’t the answer either.

To be sure, my research on the subject indicated the old GED, which stands for “General Education Development,” not “General Equivalency Diploma,” was not rigorous enough. Many agreed with me such as the US military, which over time treated GED holders as somewhere closer to high school dropouts than regular high school graduates.

However, the new GED may not really be the answer, either. I remain to be convinced that the so-called types of content-weak, higher-order-thinking skills supposedly being assessed by the new tests are actually as claimed.

For sure, it presently looks like Common-Core-aligned GED-type testing is locking more non-graduates out of any sort of high school credential – an almost guaranteed job killer for any applicant today.