SALT LAKE CITY — Educators in Utah are warning adults trying to get their GED equivalency to hurry. The tests are going to change dramatically beginning next year.
For now, people getting their GED have to take a battery of five tests. Starting in January of next year, applicants will only have to take four tests, but they will be more difficult.
Marty Kelly, state coordinator of adult education, said, "The candidates will have to [write] essays within topics, like in the area of science or part of the social studies test."
Kelly said the math requirements will be higher and there will be more analytical components to the exams.
The way the tests are taken will change, too. Students will use computers to take the test, instead of paper and pencils. Kelly says this change provides a bonus for test takers.
- About 700,000 people nationwide take the GED exam yearly
- About 72% pass to earn their states' high school equivalency credential
- More than 1 million people are expected to try in 2013 in advance of the change
"If they've taken one of the tests and they've failed a test, they're more likely to come back using the computer than those that have done paper and pencil," Kelly said. "I think it's a much nicer medium for people to take the test."
Anyone who has started the battery of tests since 2002 and hasn't finished them will have to complete them by December.
"If they don't complete the tests, then they'll have to start completely over come January of 2014," Kelly warned.
The new exams are designed to better match the core curriculum, and that may be a problem for older adults. Younger adults may have already been exposed to this curriculum, but there may be a learning curve for older people.
"There are adult education programs in every area of the state, in 42 school districts and 15 community based organizations that are prepared, or will be prepared to present new curriculum," Kelly said.