In January 2014, proposed changes to the GED test will affect many individuals seeking the high school equivalency diploma according to Diane Orson’s report for NPR. For years the testing service that offered the GED was the nonprofit American Council on Education, but in 2011, the nonprofit stated that it would be “…merging with Pearson, a for-profit British company, and one of the largest educational testing companies in the world.” [Surprise, surprise.]
Needless to say, the price of the test is set to double from $60 to $120. Some states choose to subsidize some or all of the test for its residents, however the exorbitant increase in cost may deter some governments to provide the financial assistance it previously was able to and will probably render many unable to afford any help at all in paying for the test. This is antithetical to the nature of the test, which was designed to provide an opportunity for all individuals to obtain a diploma often necessary for more employment opportunities. Low-income people will be further disadvantaged by the price of the test.
Additionally, the article states that the GED test itself “will be more rigorous and aligned with Common Core Standards” along with its complete digitization. The computerization of the exam will add another element of division to the new test, a “digital divide” that privileges those who are comfortable with using a computer and taking online tests. The article refers to some states that are seeking alternatives to the GED, but it doesn’t specify what these testing alternatives are. I’d imagine and hope that as January 2014 approaches, the alternatives are effective, affordable, and available in all fifty states.