Archive for December, 2013

New GED Exam Nears, with Alternatives

Monday, December 30th, 2013

In “Countdown Begins to New GED” the New Haven Independent‘s Melissa Bailey recently explored the history of the General Educational Development exam and its use in New Haven’s adult education program, as a new computer-based test — reflecting Common Core standards — will begin in January.

The New York Times previewed this transition in an October 2013 article.

New York is one of the states that will be using a different test, CTB/McGraw’s TASC — one of two alternatives to the (Pearson/ACE) GED, as another Times article indicated, with sample questions from each of the three exams (the other is HiSET from ETS).

Economist (and Nobel laureate) James Heckman, who is known for his work on the value of high-quality early childhood education, has (with colleagues) also studied the GED.  In effect making at least a partial case for the increased rigor of the new GED and its alternatives, Heckman et al. in a June 2010 NBER working paper cautioned:

“…The academic literature on the GED … [suggests] minimal value of the certificate in terms of labor market outcomes and that only a few individuals successfully use it as a path to obtain post-secondary credentials. Although the GED establishes cognitive equivalence on one measure of scholastic aptitude, recipients still face limited opportunity due to deficits in noncognitive skills such as persistence, motivation and reliability. The literature finds that the GED testing program distorts social statistics on high school completion rates, minority graduation gaps, and sources of wage growth. Recent work demonstrates that, through its availability and low cost, the GED also induces some students to drop out of school.”

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