Record numbers took GED test before exam changed

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Last Thursday in Minneapolis, 160 graduates walked across a stage at Edison High School to receive their GED, the "General Educational Development" exam that serves as a high school equivalency credential.

Twin Cities Daily Planet reports that they were the most recent GED graduates in the city. They were among a record number of mostly adults who took the test through Minneapolis Adult Education. Just under 900 individuals, completed the test in 2013. In the past, typically 600 students have taken the GED each year through the program which also includes classes to prepare for the exam.

Carlye Peterson, who runs run the GED testing center in Minneapolis, believes the higher number of test takers was due to introduction of a new version of the GED which arrived on January 1, 2014. The new test required students who had been enrolled in classes to either finish the program by December 31 or start over on January 1. “It’s quite a motivator to get them to come back and take the test,” she said.

CBS News reported the revamped test is based on more rigorous academic standards. The new test features a more intensive version of the same subjects, including language arts, writing, math, science and social studies. Those taking the new test use a computer rather than paper and pencil.

In August, the St. Cloud Times reported a sharp uptick in the number of students there who were busily preparing to take the test before the changes were put in place. Usually about 100 people took the test in the St. Cloud school district each year. At the time the story was written, that number was expected to be 250 to 275 for the year.

The Owatonna People's Press reported at the start of the month that the changes in the GED is creating changes at the community's Adult Learning Center at Roosevelt Community Education which had previously been a satellite facility of the Faribault GED testing center. Now that the GED will be completely online, Owatonna will become an additional testing center.

Although the GED has been a staple of adult education for 70 years, the changes have caused some states, including Iowa, Indiana and New York, to cut ties with the GED exam in favor of similar tests. The newspaper said that Minnesota is still in the process of evaluating the new version of the GED.

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