State may begin charging students to take GED test


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas may stop administering the General Education Development test at no charge to students next year, along with other changes, the program’s state administrator said Thursday.

In January 2014, the national GED Testing Service and its new partner, the education and testing company Pearson, will make several changes to the test, including compiling and providing to students a report showing their proficiency in various academic skills. The report is intended to help guide students as they pursue post-secondary education or a new job by highlighting their strengths and areas that need improvement.

“The new test will cost more money than Arkansas has traditionally been able to absorb, therefore, some of the test’s costs may be borne by the student in the future,” said Janice Hanlon, Arkansas’ GED administrator.

She said the cost to students remains to be seen, but it could be as high as $120.

Also, students will take the new test on a computer instead of using pencil and paper.

“Basic computer literacy is a must for most anyone who hopes to get a job or advance in today’s work environment. Our adult education centers are already helping their students with computer literacy and will incorporate those skills into their GED preparation classes,” Hanlon said.

Hanlon said the likely need to begin charging test takers is not related to the switch from paper to computers.

The test also will be updated to reflect the new Common Core academic standards.

People who have taken the current test, but not passed all five parts, have until the end of 2013 to pass or they will need to start over again in 2014 with the new test to obtain their GED diploma, Hanlon said.