Passing score for GED test changed


In 1942, the original GED® test was released. Since that time, the GED (General Educational Development) test has opened doors to better jobs and college programs for more than 20 million graduates. The GED Test is a United States high school equivalency test, and is delivered in over 60 countries around the world. To date, there have been four generations of the GED® test: the original GED® test released in 1942, the 1978 series, the 1988 series, and the current series released in 2002. GED Testing Service is the creator of the one official GED Test.

GED Testing Service recently announced a major change to the GED Test passing score and the addition of two new performance levels. In most states, the passing score for high school equivalency is moving from 150 to 145. Many states, including Maryland, are able to implement these enhancements immediately, while others will require additional approval or rule changes to implement GED Testing Service’s recommendations.

In addition to the passing score change, the GED program will also include two optional levels above high school equivalency to signify college readiness, and for some test-takers the opportunity to earn college credits.

“The recalibration of the passing score being moved from 150 to 145 is based on extensive analysis of data we have been collecting for 18 months,” said CT Turner, Senior Director of State Accounts & Government Relations for GED Testing Service. “We found GED test-takers performed better than some high school graduates. We also found that more of our testing graduates are going into career training than ever before, and more were doing better at community college than some high school grads.”

Turner added, “We want people to have the same expectations of adult learners that they have for high school graduates. There are many adult test-takers who score between 145 and 150 and were just a few points off from passing. The change in the test score is exciting because it means they can meet the 145 standard and can move on.”

GED Testing Service offers the only learner-centric program that is recognized and portable from state to state. According to GED Testing Service, the program is based on the expectations and standards for college- and career-readiness and will lead to better outcomes in education. GED Testing Service also highlighted the new “GED College Ready” performance level score of 165-174, which signifies readiness to enter credit-bearing college courses, and the new “GED College Ready + Credit” level score of 175-200, which signifies that a student qualifies for up to ten hours of college credit.

“The 165 performance level score is an indicator that someone is ready for college courses,” said Turner. “It could really jump start someone’s career.”

GED Testing Service notes that while the academic content areas in which candidates are assessed— English language arts (reading/writing), social studies, science, and mathematics— have not changed, the priorities and assumptions by which proficiency in these areas is assessed have evolved.

“Since the GED Test assesses academic skills and knowledge typically developed in a four-year high school education program, it is of utmost importance to GED Testing Service that the GED continues to evolve as secondary education evolves,” said Turner. “In addition, right now in the U.S., there are not enough people who have the required skills or knowledge to fill about four million available jobs.”

He added, “The GED test can help solve this economic need by opening the doors for millions of adult learners to college courses, apprenticeships and job training— the pathway adults need to gain skills and knowledge, fill these jobs and care for their families.”

According to GED Testing Service, the GED College Ready and GED College Ready + Credit levels will apply to any student who has taken a GED test since January 1, 2014. GED Testing Service is also recommending that states retroactively apply the 145 passing score to test-takers who have tested since January 1, 2014.

“The reaction to the change in the test score has been very positive,” said Turner. “People have cried and screamed with joy. Many have taken the test and were just a point away from passing. Taking the test requires hard work and a lot of persistence. The GED Test is a lot more than a test. It really helps to change lives. Our goal is for adult learners to get the jobs they want. The GED Test offers that opportunity.”

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