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A Conversation about the GED 21st Century Initiative: Moving from GED® test to a career and college ready assessment system - Full Transcript - Assessment - Discussion Lists

A Conversation about the GED 21st Century Initiative: Moving from GED® test to a career and college ready assessment system

Full Transcript



Discussion Dates: September 12 -15, 2011

Moderator: Marie Cora

Description | Preparation | Guest Participants



Discussion Topics



Welcome Messages from Day 1 and Day 2

Moderator's Welcome Message

Dear Colleagues,

I wish you all a good National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week! I also would like to welcome the 265 new subscribers who have joined the List since the first announcement about this discussion was circulated.

Today begins our discussion:

A Conversation about the GED® 21st Century Initiative ™: Moving from GED® test to a career and college ready assessment system with Martin Kehe, CT Turner, Tracy Gardner, and Debi Faucette of the GED® Testing Service. Welcome guest panelists!

Please visit http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/assessment/11GEDinitiative to read the complete announcement with guest bios and suggested resources.

Note that our guests have selected to respond to your questions and comments at the end of each day.

Subscribers, please send your comments and questions now and at any time to: assessment at lincs.ed.gov or by hitting the Reply key to respond to a message. Please adjust the Subject line to reflect the content of your message.

Attached are instructions for following the discussion, and tips for getting the most out of your experience.

I look forward to this week's conversation!

Marie Cora

Assessment Discussion List Moderator


Welcome Message from Guest Panelists, Day 1

Welcome to the GED® Testing Service's discussion of the GED® 21st Century Initiative(tm). We will be responding to your questions about the progress being made on this important program. The initiative is designed to launch the next-generation career- and college-ready assessment in 2014 (which is what will replace the current GED® test), as well as supporting programs of instructional preparation and test-taker support to assist adults in attaining a high school equivalency credential as well as a certification of career- and college-readiness. This initiative is being undertaken to help adults better prepare for the types of educational and career opportunities available in the present and future economy, and it corresponds to the work that is being done in the K-12 environment to better prepare students for career and college.

The centerpiece of the Initiative(tm) is the new assessment system. The next-generation assessment is currently being developed and aligned with career- and college-ready content standards such as the Common Core State Standards. The new test will continue to be a measure of high school equivalency and its passing standard will continue to be informed by the performance of graduating high school seniors. In addition, however, the test will include enhanced score reporting which will provide test-takers with information on the strengths and development needs they have in each of four content areas: Literacy (reading and writing), Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The new test will also include an advanced performance level that will provide information to candidates, instructors, schools, and employers about a test-taker's readiness to succeed in careers and/or postsecondary studies. The new test will primarily be delivered on computer, as the content standards being measured require item types which cannot be administered in the traditional paper and pencil format. The new assessment system will also include additional assessments, the Readiness Test (the new version of the Official Practice Test) to be released in 2013, and a series of Diagnostic Tests, to be released in 2015.

The GED® Testing Service recognizes that it is not sufficient to release a new test without attending to both (1) the preparation that test-takers will require to attain the skills needed to succeed on the test, and (2) the supports needed to assist adults in persisting in their educational trajectory and making the transitions which are critical to success in reaching their goals. In addition to the new test, we will be discussing these additional aspects of the program over the next several days.

In general, we expect to cover the following topics, by day:

  • Today (Monday), we will discuss the need for the new Initiative and anticipated outcomes; discuss the need for a new GED® assessment that is aligned with emerging national standards and can measure adult learners' readiness for career and college; and what the new assessment system will strive to accomplish.
  • Tuesday, we will discuss how the assessment framework/targets are being determined, the differences between common core standards and assessment targets, and generally ways in which the new test will be different from the current version.
  • Wednesday, we will discuss the need for and plans to implement multiple performance levels in scoring, and touch on thoughts and plans for the other two components of the initiative - Prepare and Progress - that involve preparation and transitions to career and college.
  • Finally, Thursday, we will discuss how instructors and programs can begin to prepare for the expected change in the new GED® assessment
  • An undertaking as large as the enhancement of the venerable GED® testing program is an enormous task, and the GED® Testing Service is committed to the successful implementation of the GED® 21st Century Initiative(tm).

The success of the program, however, is also dependent on the work of the many individuals nationwide, including those participating in this list-serve discussion, who work with adult learners every day to achieve their goals. Because of your key role in our joint success, we invite your questions and discussion on this important topic.

Martin Kehe, VP Products

Tracy Gardner, Senior Director of Assessment Services

Debi Faucette, Senior Director of Field Outreach

CT Turner, Director of Public Affairs


Welcome Message for Tuesday, Day 2

We at the GED® Testing Service were pleased to see all the great questions and comments on the listserv on Monday. We have tried our best to respond to everyone's questions. We welcome the conversation and encourage you to keep the questions and comments coming on our topics for Tuesday-Thursday. Developing a new GED® testing program that will help adults prepare for college and career training, find better jobs, support their families, and realize their dreams will require input and partnership from publishers, adult education teachers, government entities, employers and many, many others. We hope that this conversation is only a start, and that you continue to interact with us through our monthly newsletter (www.GED®test.com/Thecommunity), by viewing and submitting questions to the website, and by interacting with our staff at the many conferences and meetings we're holding all across the country.




Access in Rural Areas


GED® Testing Service wrote:

As we move to computer-based testing (CBT) the goal of the GED® Testing Service is to increase, not decrease, access. Therefore, our intention is to work to have testing center coverage that is equal to or better than what is currently available in the paper-based administration system. One of the misconceptions about CBT centers is that they have to be large brick-and-mortar facilities. In fact, we are exploring a number of options that include mobile testing centers as well as small testing centers that might be open only on an as-needed basis with 2 or 3 computers (serving the same type of rural market that is currently served by addendum testing sites, for example). The work to introduce CBT during the 2002 Series administration is partly about getting all of these various types of testing centers up and running to (1) increase testing capacity as the end of the series draws near, and (2) to ease the transition to the new CBT environment which is so necessary for the administration of the next-generation test.

If this method is successfully created for testing delivery, it will be a fantastic tool for RURAL western states, such as Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Outside of Alaska, our college probably has the largest geographical service area in the country. The longest distance I have GED® examinees driving directly to the campus testing center is 166 miles. That is what creates an economic hardship on the families of some examinees. Driving 30 miles is normal for my GED® examinees.

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID

Let's get GED® into the free enterprise arena. Privatize and it will be as available as banking online. In the bush of Alaska (where I worked) every internet-able computer should be able to download the GED® exam just like TABE. If education is really important, let's make GED® available to all.

Peace,

Barbara J Struble


Accommodations



GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: We understand that some test-takers may need special accommodations, and those accommodations will be offered appropriate for the new assessment (including paper-based forms). We actually believe that moving to a computer-based delivery model will benefit students with disabilities beyond the current opportunities afforded by paper-based testing. For instance, students who request accommodations sometimes find it sometimes difficult to find a testing center that can accommodate them in a timely manner, if not referring them to a distant testing center at all. With computer-based delivery these test-takers can be accommodated at any testing center, and the scheduling process will be streamlined with the centralized registration/scheduling process. Another example of our commitment to these test-takers can be found in the computer-based testing pricing model. Testing centers will be reimbursed by the hours a test is scheduled to take. If a test-taker requests extended time (the most commonly requested accommodation) the testing fee will remain the same, but the testing center will be reimbursed for the amount of time requested. For example, if the Math test is scheduled for 2 hours, the testing center would be reimbursed $10 per administration. If a student is granted double time, the test-taker cost remains the same while the testing center is reimbursed for 4 hours, or $20.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I was requested to ask if Screen-reader (converting text to speech) will be an option in the CBT arena for those with disabilities?

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: We are working with Pearson VUE to determine how screen-reading capabilities could be added to the CBT system. While we do not yet have a determination on the availability of this particular technology, we are looking at a number of solutions that could provide a read-aloud accommodation to test takers who require it. More information on this will be forthcoming within the next year.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I think that there will always be more than the CBT version of the exam. Something about the disabilities act would dictate more than just CBT testing.

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

Midland, MI

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: There will absolutely be appropriate accommodations for test-takers with disabilities; in fact, we believe that test-takers who need accommodations can be more speedily served in the CBT delivery mode, because most standard accommodations will be built into the computer interface, making them more readily available to test-takers who are approved for those accommodations.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

 


Background Knowledge

I have heard that all sections of the new GED® will require some background knowledge, and not just be essentially a reading test in each of the different subjects as it is now. What are the implications for requiring students to have substantial background knowledge for the social studies essay, especially for our immigrant populations?

Thanks,

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

GED Testing Service Response:

Both the new Social Studies and Science subject-area tests of the new GED® assessment will require some background knowledge. These expectations are being refined this fall and will be publicly released in early 2012. We believe that wide dissemination of these requirements will enable test-takers of all backgrounds to be able to understand and acquire the knowledge and skill level needed to do well on the new assessment.


Career and College Readiness

I am curious about the career and college ready part of the new test. Is it a new assessment? If so, what research is it based on?

Robin Matusow

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

GED® Testing Service Response: The new GED® assessment will be an entirely new assessment (just as the 1988 and 2002 series were new assessments) that is aligned with career- and college-ready content. That content was based on research done by ACT and others that looked at the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by students to successfully achieve a grade of “C” or better in credit-bearing first-year postsecondary courses. These skills, while academic in nature, are also the skills that employers cite as being necessary for success in many careers. The new test will measure both high school equivalency as well as career- and college readiness.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

If we are testing for career and college preparedness how do we account for the soft skills that are necessary for the post educational and labor market. In the research out there many employers are looking for different skill sets than prior knowledge.

If we are testing for prior knowledge and a formal educational skill set then I am grateful that we are using the new national core content standards that would reflect what we “nationally” think that every high school graduate needs to know.

My question now becomes; How are you going to blend these two different assessments into one exam with five subsets based on the core subjects and for soft skill sets employers and colleges require for people to be successful.

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

Midland, MI

GED® Testing Service Response: The new GED® assessment will be measure academic knowledge and skills in four key areas –literacy (language arts reading and writing), mathematics, science, and social studies. While other skills and abilities are certainly required for career and postsecondary success, research has shown that key academic skills are still the best predictor of success in those arenas. Over the long term, GED® Testing Service plans to develop partnerships with other organizations offering assessment of some of these soft-skills and report the results in an electronic portfolio of results. That type of program, however, will not be part of the initial launch of the new test in 2014. (See also Common Core and Content Standards transcript.)

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Hello all,

In deciding what multi-performance levels that you will endorse/promote, discussion leads that we will have high school equivalent and career/college ready.

Will this be a change from current policy where the States decided what the scores had to be before issuing an Adult High School Equivalency diploma? There were minimum scores but States could adopt their own standards. In Michigan there was a large uproar when we tried to do this with traditional diplomas.

If we are looking at career ready skills then you have a different set of standards for each of the 16 national career paths and some of them would not require the same amount of rigor in academic skills so how would we differentiate between the career pathways?

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

Midland, MI

Those are good questions, especially the last one which I think is a great question.

Jon Engel

San Marcos, TX

GED Testing Service Response:

As in the past, the GED Testing Service will set minimum standards regarding both the high school equivalency performance level and the career- and college-ready performance level. Jurisdictions would still have the option of setting higher standards that would apply to their particular locality. One significant difference with the new performance levels is that they will not only consist of scaled scores, but they will also be accompanied by more detailed information about what knowledge, skills, and competencies are represented by those scores. Because of this detailed information linking the scores with performance descriptors, we think it is likely that most jurisdictions will elect to use the cut scores and performance information established by the GED Testing Service. In addition, the setting of performance levels will involve significant participation from local stakeholder groups, helping to ensure that the performance levels reflect the thresholds most critical to jurisdictions.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


CBT and Correctional Institutions

From what I have read and heard it is my understanding that the new format will be totally paperless. No longer will there be any written format administered. My question is what type of test will be given in a correctional setting where computer usage is strictly limited and internet usage forbidden altogether?

Mike Hemmeter,

San Angelo, TX

GED® Testing Service Response: The new GED® test is being designed to be delivered by computer. We are working with Pearson VUE to develop a technology solution for the various correctional settings to enable support of computer-based testing. We are currently working with the Correctional Educators Association (CEA) on a survey-launching this fall-that will focus on deepening our understanding of the concerns, potential challenges and issues of computer-based testing in correctional settings. This is an important operational goal, because the GED® test is such a critical cornerstone of correctional educational programs and goals both nationally and locally.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Good Afternoon:

I agree with the various posts that discuss the importance of being computer literate in today's workforce. I work in a correctional setting and have my students for an hour and fifteen minutes a class period which is focused on learning the essentials for passing the current GED® and for some the basics for simple everyday tasks. For correctional facilities, which have limited access to computers for students will more money be allocated for computer software to teach basic computer skills needed and for more computers for corrections so that each student may have a computer to work on?

Amanda Graziano

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Testing in jails and prisons will be another stream of work that will require lots of conversation and thoughtful planning. We are very aware of the sizable GED® testing population in such settings when they test. In recognition of this, we have been in conversations with CEA, FBOP (Federal Bureau of Prisoners), other corrections associations, and state systems to identify critical issues and are working to create collaborative partnerships to help overcome some of these challenges. We are also collaborating with CEA on a technology in corrections survey due out this fall.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Common Core and Content Standards

The world is becoming computer literate and we need to embrace this change. Computers started appearing in classrooms in the late 1970's and were part of most students' instruction (limited) for over 12 years. This is the new media - it has already had a bigger impact than TV did in the 50's (sorry soapboxing). (See also Concerns over Computer Based Testing transcript.)

My questions are:

  • Could you go into more detail on the difference between common core and assessment targets?
  • What common core curriculum are you using as a reference? Is it the new national core standards or a version of_____? Have the colleges at a national level correlated their idea of core academic skills needed for success?
  • With the new Social Science exam will there be more focus on the sciences (i.e. economics) or classical social studies (i.e. US geography/democratic values/civics)?

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

GED® Testing Service Response: The new assessment targets align to the common core state standards as well as other rigorous college- and career-readiness content standards (e.g. Texas, Virginia); are evidence-based; reflect the skills and knowledge most predictive of success in work and postsecondary education; and are designed to measure deep understanding of core skills needed for a wide variety of pathways. The Common Core State Standards are guidelines for curriculum, not performance targets.

We are using the Common Core State Standards - more information can be found at: http://www.corestandards.org/. There have been ongoing conversations with major college organizations representing the subject areas in the common core that have already been established - Mathematics and English/language arts. And we are also cross-referencing our assessment targets with other career- and college-ready standards in use in states such as Virginia and Texas.

The GED® Testing Service Panel



Here is a recent related study of interest on common core and academia: https://www.epiconline.org/standardsvaliditystudy

Nancy Sheridan

RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

GED® Testing Service Response: Thank you Nancy, an enlightening link and information!

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Hi everyone,

I think it is definitely worth looking a little deeper into when the Common Core State Standards are going to be implemented in high schools. I did a Google Search using the keywords, "common core state standards timeline" and learned the following - 1) it seems like the timeline for fully implementing the Common Core is being decided state by state, so everyone should find out what is going on in their states and 2) some states are planning on fully implementing the Common Core in the 2014-2015 academic year.

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

Some states are not adopting the Common Core Standards. I live in a big state called Texas. Texas has something called the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards. In archetypal and stereotypical Texan fashion, Texas believes there standards are more rigorous and better than the Common Core endorsed by the National Governors Association.

Jon Engel

San Marcos, TX

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Jon you are correct, in fact we are also referencing the Texas standards alongside the common core standards, as well as a few others such as Virginia.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Martin, Debi, Tracy, and CT,

In response to Jeff, you wrote:

GED® Testing Service Response: The new assessment targets align to the common core state standards as well as other rigorous college- and career-readiness content standards (e.g. Texas, Virginia); are evidence-based; reflect the skills and knowledge most predictive of success in work and postsecondary education; and are designed to measure deep understanding of core skills needed for a wide variety of pathways. The Common Core State Standards are guidelines for curriculum, not performance targets.

We are using the Common Core State Standards – more information can be found at: http://www.corestandards.org/. There have been ongoing conversations with major college organizations representing the subject areas in the common core that have already been established – Mathematics and English/language arts. And we are also cross-referencing our assessment targets with other career- and college-ready standards in use in states such as Virginia and Texas.

My follow-up question:

The Common Core State Standards are focused solely on Math and English/Language Arts. How is the content for the science and social studies sections being determined?

Thanks,

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Mark, you are correct that CCSS primarily focus on English Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. However, the English Language Arts/Literacy standards include Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. We used this guidance as a starting point, and then we recruited national experts to help us identify the content topics and key concepts to be assessed on our new GED® Science and Social Studies assessments. Some of the experts that we are working with are simultaneously supporting the development of the common standards for Science [1], which will be released in 2012 and the common standard for Social Studies that are still in a relatively early phase of development. The following paragraphs illustrate some high-level focus areas of each assessment.

The four content-area assessments (Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies) will measure a foundational core of knowledge and skills that are essential for career- and college-readiness. The domain assessed in each test will be defined by a set of targets that fully describe, in detail, what the candidate needs to know and be able to do. The four content-area tests are briefly described below.

In alignment with national career- and college-readiness standards, the GED® Literacy assessment focuses on three essential elements: (1) the ability to read closely, (2) the ability to write clearly, and (3) the ability to edit and use standard written English in context. Because the strongest predictor of college- and career-readiness is the ability to read and comprehend complex texts, especially nonfiction, the Literacy assessment will include texts from both academic and workplace contexts that will reflect a range of levels of complexity. The writing tasks will require test-takers to analyze particular texts and cite evidence drawn directly from them.

GED® mathematics content will focus on quantitative reasoning skills that are most important for high school exit and career- and college-readiness. The Mathematics test will focus on computational skills, algebraic problem solving, and, to a lesser degree, geometric problem solving and data interpretation. It will also rely heavily on real-world scenarios in order to create contexts relevant to our test-taking population in order to measure these skills.

The new GED® Science test will measure candidates' abilities to read and understand texts and other media (such as charts, graphs and various technical documents) drawn from scientific subject matter. It will also measure their abilities to apply quantitative reasoning skills within a real-world scientific context. The stimulus materials for this test will be pulled largely from a focused selection of topics (e.g., Health and the Human Body, Energy etc.) and will employ key scientific concepts (e.g., the scientific method). The core scientific literacy and quantitative reasoning skills most indicative of career- and college-readiness will be selected on the basis of evidence drawn from national curricular surveys and other studies.

The GED® Social Studies test will measure a candidate's ability to read, understand, analyze and write about topics relevant to a variety of social science disciplines. Candidates will also need to demonstrate basic numeracy and quantitative reasoning skills with respect to various forms of data representation, such as charts, graphs, and maps as applied within a social studies context. The new Social Studies test will feature an extended written response task. Candidates will use one or more source document(s) to provide evidence in support of their own arguments. Most of the stimulus materials for this test will be pulled from seminal U.S. historical documents, thereby focusing the content of the test on topics stemming from United States history, government and civics. The Social Studies test will also sample from topics drawn from global issues, such as economics, world trade and geography.

While national (e.g., Common Core State Standards) or state-level career- and college-readiness standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics have been adopted by nearly all 50 states, Science and Social Studies career- and college-readiness standards has been developing at a slower pace.

Therefore, GED® Testing Service recruited a select group of nationally-recognized experts to help us identify a selection of content topics and key concepts for both science and social studies. The final deliverables from these working groups will be completed by 11/30/2011. The topics and key concepts, in conjunction with essential discipline-specific literacy and numeracy skills derived from the Common Core State Standards, will become the foundations of our assessment targets for the new Science and Social Studies GED® Assessments. Once the assessment targets are drafted, they will undergo reviews by other national K-12 education experts and members of the adult education community in order to bolster their content validity.

The selection of the topics and concepts for the Science and Social Studies tests are data-driven and prioritize the skills and knowledge adults entering the workforce and/or beginning post-secondary coursework need most. Once this first topic-identification step was complete, we convened the experts via a webinar to review each other's work and to unify the disciplinary topics into a cohesive document.

After the initial topics and concepts were identified, GED® Testing Service engaged other national and subject matter experts to complete the assessment targets for the test. These are the steps that we are working on now:

  1. Develop Science and Social Studies Assessment Targets that merge the content topics, key concepts and Common Core State Standard-based discipline-specific skills, thereby defining the full range of content represented on the subject-area tests.
  2. Revise assessment targets in an iterative review
  3. Convene a committee of adult educators to review the assessment targets
  4. Finalize and release Science and Social Studies Assessment Targets

This process is very comprehensive, and we could not do it with the support of a number of key advisors and reviewers. More information about the assessment targets will be ready for public release by January 31, 2012.

GED® Testing Service Panel

Hello:

On reading the fact sheet about the new Initiative and the overview of the new GED® assessment, I was happy to see the Common Core State Standards mentioned as well as career-readiness-content standards. Over the last year, our Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs have been focusing on work-readiness skills and how they can/should be integrated into existing curricula.

Our agency, The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, has been working closely with our local Career Links and WERC Force to establish a connection with our class curricula and the WorkKeys program. Our programs have implemented into our GED® curricula the series correlated to WorkKeys Skills: McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Applied Mathematics; Locating Information, and Reading for Information. Work-Readiness Skills are paramount in students/clients moving forward after they reach their goal of attaining a GED® Certificate. To be contributing community members, our students/clients need to master soft skills that employers are looking for in hirable applicants.

The CSIU Family Literacy Program, for the program years 2009-10 & 2010-11, developed a program improvement plan based on to what extent Work Focused Lesson Plans impacted families/adults increasing the connection between everyday life skills and work place-readiness. In addition to family literacy, we also have an English-as-a Second Language program. These two groups improved vocabulary and understanding in the following areas: 1) Works in Teams; 2) Locates and Uses Resources; 3) Demonstrates Self Management Strategies; 4) Demonstrates Effective Interpersonal Relations.

The need we are seeing in our programs to establish this connection, is being addressed in the literature I have read so far about the new Initiative and why it is heading that way.

In addition to career readiness and pathways, our professional development opportunities are focusing on learning about and implementing The Common Core Standards.

Thank you,

Susan Rosinski

CSIU Family Literacy

Milton, PA

GED Testing Service Response: Thanks, Susan for sharing this information with the group. What you are doing at Central Susquehanna is right in line with what we are hoping happens more broadly in the GED® testing community as local organizations help to prepare more adults for careers and college.

The GED Testing Service Panel


Concerns over Computer Based Testing


(Includes discussion of typing/keyboarding skills)

I have followed the discussion on computer-based testing for the GED® changes 2014. I am not sure how many programs give the Official Practice Test on the computer. However, we give the OPT at least 90% of the time on the computer. You just point, click and it "fills in the bubble" which can easily be changed. They click "submit" and that portion of the OPT is submitted. When it comes to the Essay, they have a choice to write it on paper or actually type it on the computer. The test is timed just like the regular OPT and GED®. However, the timer is "on the computer" and they can see it at any given time. Even though computer skills are not great, most of the students prefer to use the computer. I have used this program for over six years. All different versions of the OPT are on the program, including the PA. Therefore, if a student is not familiar with using a computer, or feels uncomfortable, we allow them to take the practice test - PA as often as they want to become familiar with the program.

I am one of the few individuals in the field that believe in teaching our students - no matter how old - how to use the computer and the importance of using it - especially for completing job applications and various other things such as filing for unemployment. But, apply it to what you need them to do in your program. I have students of all ages and just recently a lady who was 72 years old - grandmother, etc. that was delighted that she could tell others how she is using the computer. In addition, you do not have to pay for each individual test you use on the program. After your initial purchase, the disks can be loaded in as many computers as you want and as many tests can be taken on each computer with no additional costs. I commend the great State of Kentucky for purchasing this for every program in Kentucky to use several years ago. However, I am often saddened to find many programs never have used this wonderful product. My motto though is - Never underestimate the power of your students - no matter what age, disability or drama going on in their lives.

If states/programs had been encouraged to use the OPT computer-based program Steck Vaughn - Harcourt Achieve - produced from the beginning, I believe the staff and student fears would have been diminished at this point. There will always be those who are "scared" of the computer - but I have put an iPad in the hands of even our ESL students and they have no idea they are "using a computer".

So, I say, make the changes, make the process better for our students and allow them to obtain the credentials, skills whatever it takes to allow them to become more productive in our communities.

Kay Combs, M.A.Ed.

Center for Lifelong Learning

Georgetown, KY

I agree wholeheartedly!

Carla L. Butts, MSW, LSW

Gloucester County College



Not only do I agree but encourage!!! This will get my feet put in boiling oil but, not everyone has the same skills and abilities in life. We can only strive to provide everyone the opportunity to be as successful as their skills and abilities allow. We should not change the standards to allow everyone the same success no matter what their abilities. Life is now or will be equal for all, that's nature.

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Kay, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We, too, believe that our goal is to ensure the test measures the skills and abilities adults will need to be successful. Components of the new system are going to require shifts all throughout the system, and we at GED® Testing Service are not immune to the effects of this significant change. It will be a difficult challenge, but one we believe we must overcome to serve adult learners and give them a real second opportunity - opportunities for jobs that can provide a livable wage, opportunities to support their families, opportunities to be prepared for postsecondary education and training, and to realize their dreams for a better life. Test-taker aspirations-for careers and college-mean that the bar will have to be raised.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I am not sure how many are familiar with the 21st Century program online from Houghton Mifflin? We have used that and it offers practice tests that are very similar to OPTs, both full-length and half-length. This is great practice for students as well.

Karin Ann Miller

Does the current OPT that is computer-based also include the essay, and if so, do most complete in the allotted 45 minutes? It isn't the computer-based testing for the new GED® that concerns me most, but the amount of time allotted to answer questions that require written (typed) responses for those who don't have speedy keyboarding skills.

Bev Dye

It does have the ability to complete the essay and it is timed in the 45 minutes. Now, to say everything is spelled correctly, no. But, I will say that I very rarely have anyone who wants to write it after they see the ease of typing. We have scratch paper and they can jot their thoughts out and write it and then type it. There will be issues with this, but from the discussion.....I believe I am hearing they are changing the format and may not have to write an essay in 2014? (See also Essays and Extended Constructed Responses transcript; see response below from Jon Engel.) They will have writing to do, but not the essay. I just have to have confidence that the individuals who are developing this product understand the limitations individuals will have in regard to keyboarding.....and I really believe they will as it evolves. However, listening to everyone's concerns can definitely assist in this development.

Kay Combs, M.A.Ed.

Center for Lifelong Learning

Georgetown, KY

The panel's responses give us a pretty clear indication of where GED® TS is going with the assessment of writing skills. I have pasted below the salient sentence.

"For that reason, the new writing tasks will be in response to one or more reading selections, requiring test-takers to support their positions with evidence drawn from the passages. We will be releasing in early 2012 more detailed information about the direct writing assessment as well as other open-ended items that require test-takers to provide some type of written response, and the draft rubrics that will be used to evaluate them."

Jon Engel

San Marcos, TX

Amen! I wholeheartedly agree with Kay! Technology is moving forward at a rapid pace. The students we send forth from programs need to be ready to keep moving forward either in employment or further education. I have seen many students "walk out the door" GED® in hand, who barely passed, nevertheless think they are now ready to move on when they are not. I do not mean to diminish their accomplishment, because for many, this is a huge accomplishment, but they need to realize that it is not the answer to securing and maintaining employment that will support themselves and their families in today's society.

Keyboarding skills can be taught and practiced. Diana Hansbury King has a method of teaching the keyboard according to the alphabet, which works very quickly for most. Once the location of letters is fairly automatic, practice can be on any typing tutor. Furthermore, why not use technology to do the actual essay assignments? There are good organizational tools as well, like "Inspiration" software, to teach organization.

It is not necessary to have the most updated computers to do this. Any computer with a keyboard, monitor, and word processor will do. Companies are willing to give them away when they upgrade computers.

Sorry to have gotten a little off topic from the actual "Assessment", but there are solutions out there! We need to find them.

Maureen Carro

In support; a recent Webcast presented data that reflected the GED® was not a pathway out of poverty but that it was a start. For long-term success it required a higher skill just as with high school students. (It was from a link off the background information for this week's chat. See http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/assessment/11gedinitiative

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

Kay, I stand with you. I am afraid that I have offended people by not being sympathetic when they talk about older people and learning computer skills. We are educators, we know how to teach. We have a responsibility in adult education to prepare people for lifeskills and in today's world computer literacy is a lifeskill. Kay, you say don't underestimate your students, I agree. "When you limit others, you limit yourself."

Virginia Simmons

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Thanks for your thoughts and comments on this topic, we all really appreciate hearing your insights on this important issue.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

After reading the information about the comparability study for the CBT http://www.gedcbt.org/pdfs/cms-0-CBT%20Comparability%20Study_Final.pdf ), it struck me that the responses to the CBT survey questions reveal that the test takers who were pilot tested with the CBT could be much, much more familiar and comfortable working with computers than many of the older adults I have worked with here in Washington, DC. Many of the adults in adult education programs in DC have never taken a computer-based test before, while according to the survey, 53% of the test takers involved in the study had previously taken a CBT before participating in the pilot study.

There were also very high percentages saying that they used a computer much more often than the students I have helped (24% -every day, 53% - almost every day of the week); were much more comfortable than the students I have known with using computers (72% - very comfortable, 25% somewhat comfortable); and also seemed very comfortable filling out forms, surveys and applications on computers (58% very comfortable, 30% somewhat comfortable).

It's quite possible that the majority of the test takers surveyed could have been younger and thus have had chances to use computers in their schools before they dropped out. I am concerned that because the CBT was piloted with groups of students that seem very comfortable using computers, the test could be a lot less user-friendly for older test takers and others who may not be as familiar or comfortable using computers. After discussing this with about 10 of my colleagues at a meeting, they had similar concerns.

Given these concerns, I have some questions:

  1. Among the test takers surveyed who used a computer less often and were not as comfortable using computers, was there a great disparity between how they did on the CBT and the PBT?
  2. If there was, what, if anything, will be done to address this disparity among populations who are not as familiar with using computers as those who participated in the study?
  3. Shannon Allen previously asked for clarification about the test being "primarily" on the computer and stated concern about the essay. I am also concerned about this. Will students have to type their essays on the computer? If so, will there be more time allocated for the essay than what is currently given?
  4. You mentioned that there will be a Readiness Test and a series of Diagnostic Tests. In what formats will these be available - will they be paper based or computer based or will they be available in both formats?
  5. Will test takers have the choice of skipping questions and then coming back to answer them, or will they be given only one question at a time that they have to answer in order to move on? If it is given in the latter format, will the subsequent questions presented to the test takers be based on how they answered the last question (for example, if they answered correctly, will the next question be more difficult?)

I would also be interested to know if anyone else serves students who are less familiar with computers than the population surveyed in the pilot study and also if anyone has similar concerns.

Ben Merrion

DC Public Library

GED® Testing Service Response: In the 2010 CBT/PBT comparability study, test-takers who had some level of computer familiarity did perform slightly better than those who were less-skilled, as might be expected. However we found no statistically significant differences in CBT and paper-based testing scores by level of computer familiarity. In actuality, we are confident in saying that the level of computer skills required to take the test are basic (e.g., using the mouse to scroll and select items, using navigation tools to move forwards and backwards through the test, and basic keyboarding skills to respond to fill-in-the-blank and constructed response items. We have also created tutorials that test-takers can use to familiarize themselves with how computer-based testing functions. These tutorials will be available to test-takers at the testing center before they begin testing, or they will be able to go access the tutorial through the web at home, in their adult education classes, at local libraries, through mobile devices, or wherever else they can access the internet.

As we field test all the items that will appear on the new test, we will take into account the range of computer skills required by test-takers and reflect that in the time allotted to respond to the items. Because all of the tests in the new GED® assessment system will incorporate item types that cannot be administered on a paper-and-pencil exam, all of the new assessments - including the diagnostic and readiness tests - will be administered in computer-based formats. The tests will be available in a paper-and-pencil accommodated version for those test-takers who require that type of format.

The next-generation test will initially be implemented in a linear computer format - meaning that test-takers will be able to move freely between items and won't have to answer them in a particular order. We will be investigating the future use of computer-adaptive testing, but it would be several years beyond 2014 before that could be implemented.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Our school was one of the schools involved in a pilot program administered by Pearson Vue. Selected students were asked if they would like to participate in the computerized GED® test program. They were also paid for their participation. All of the students who participated were very comfortable with computers. There were no students who tested that were not completely familiar with the computer. I asked other students if they would like to participate--especially since they could make as much as $175. Many refused stating that they were not willing to take the test on the computer.

We were told that the scores of those students who tested and then took the written test would be compared to the computer test. I was not privy to that information. I don't know if they actually compared the results and if so, how much of difference resulted.

I personally don't like the idea that the test is probably going to be completely computerized. I think it is a great dis-service to our students. Many do not have computers at home and are completely unfamiliar with them. Also, there is so much tension by some students just taking the test, that I don't feel they should be subjected to further stress. Are those involved in this decision familiar with the classroom? Do they really have any idea as to who the students that we serve actually are? Do they realize how important the decision just to take the GED® class is and then to sit for a test? How about our disabled students? I don't think they are or this type of decision would not have been made.

We have an obligation to our students to give them the best education possible in preparation for the GED® test. I personally teach my class and do not just facilitate. My students are eager to learn and ask for more and more to do. But, if I tell them that the practice tests are available on the computer, they just look at me and say "not for me".

Our students now pay tuition for the GED® /ABE classes. There has not been any noticeable decrease in enrollment, however, I have found that those enrolled are eager to learn and are all business.

I hope that there is more thought on this matter--and that possibly if enough of us express our dismay with the computerized testing--that those in authority will change their decision or at least give an option to take the test either written or computerized.

Gloria Sward

Flagler Technical Institute

Palm Coast, FL

I totally agree! I understand that the cost will go up considerably by using computer based testing. Our students are experiencing hardship in paying for the cost of the test now and yet we are going to increase the cost considerably?!?! Have we considered that if we increase the cost of the test that our success rate for students even attempting to take the test might be diminished? Has there been any consideration in the possibility of offering the computer based test and also the paper/pencil test? An example would be to designate a test date that would only be for those interested in taking the computer based test and then offer other test dates using the paper/pencil test. Would both of these test be the same cost? Our center's computer lab is normal in size but, our capacity compared to the capacity in our training room for a paper/pencil test is quite different. I don't quite understand the cost-effective logic in being able to test @ least 75 or more students using the paper/pencil test (maximum capacity in our large training room) to testing 14 (maximum capacity in our computer lab) on a scheduled test day. Is the thought behind this to offer the computer-based test every day?

Our center administered the ETS ParaProfessional computer-based test a couple of years ago. We constantly had problems with the testing website as well as technical support issues that arose during the test. Has there been any thought to the tech support needed when there are problems with the testing's web site? What provisions will be made for the student when these problems arise during the middle of the test? Will the tech support from our own school district be needed to be on hand when there are technical problems that are not related to the testing web site each time we schedule a test date?

Debra Ellenburg

GED® Testing Administrator

Greenville County Schools

GED® Testing Service Response: Thank you for questions. You've asked a significant number of specific questions about the CBT delivery format, and it will prove difficult to respond to all of your questions in adequate depth on the listserv. We'd also like to acknowledge that many decisions are going to be determined by decisions made with GED® Testing Service and the individual jurisdiction's CBT implementation team. We'd encourage you to contact your state GED® administrator, as this information becomes available for your jurisdiction, and we recommend that you also reference the extensive FAQ section of our CBT website: http://www.gedcbt.org. Feel free to submit any new questions on that site so others can benefit from seeing them - or to email any of us individually.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

In response to Gloria Sward's comment; I believe that computerized testing is a great idea. The skills that our future workforce will need are often technology based, and the sooner our students understand this, the better. Without basic technical skills it will be very difficult for them to succeed in a post-secondary environment or to obtain jobs that will provide sustainable incomes. I think that our curriculum in Adult Education should incorporate computer and technical skills as a necessary component.

Carla L. Butts, MSW, LSW

Gloucester County College

I agree. Computer skills need to be incorporated as part of career readiness. Even job applications are rarely accepted in a paper format.

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: We couldn't agree more, as you can tell from our earlier responses. We also know that conversations on this very topic have been occurring at the highest levels of leadership at OVAE.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I just read the post by Gloria Sward (above) - this was one that I must have overlooked. I, too, would like to see the comparisons of the folks who took the GED® on the computer, then took the paper and pencil test. Wonder where those comparisons are?

Bev Dye



While I understand the concern about going computerized, it is a fact that almost all jobs will require interaction with a computer. Warehousing is a chief employer here in Fernley, Nevada and even picking-and-packing jobs use computers. Students may not like it, but like math or reading it is an essential job skill. In our community job application is 85% or more on-line only, so even to get the job you have to be able to use a computer. The GED® being given on computer will force some of my reluctant learners to get over their fear, practice this needed skill, and in the end be more employable.

Carol King

Fernley Adult Education Center

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:


Thank you for your comments on this topic Carol. Our goal is not to force an agenda, but rather ensure we are measuring skills and abilities that adults will need to be successful in the workforce and postsecondary education and training programs.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

While I agree philosophically with Carla Butt's stance on the need for adult learners to develop strong word processing skills at a minimum, until and unless both HS and adult ed centers AND the GED® *require* such skills, they will always be ancillary for some students—and for their instructors. If “everyone” agrees that such skills are essential, then make them a serious part of the assessment vs. just giving lip service to them, and help adult ed centers with funding for proper computer labs.

Stephanie Moran


GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: We have outlined a number of reasons that we, and our advisory groups, believe that computer-based delivery is essential to deliver a program that is successful in helping adults be truly prepared for careers and some form of college (certificate or degree programs) past high school. Additional education and/or training will be essential for most jobs in the next decade. An added benefit for adult educators is that the new assessment will deliver more robust and detailed scoring reports that can help instructors focus on areas of difficulty and mastery in each subject area- so that targeted instruction can be given to test-takers and speed up the remediation process.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

It seems mute to discuss the computerization of the GED®. To me, it sounds like a done deal. Our input is but a placebo to the reality of our challenge. We are adult ed teachers, always on the "back burner", always asked to do the "impossible." Yet, we have proved that we can do the task. Another challenge.... here we go again!


Marilyn Reichardt

Fruitport Community Schools

Fruitport, MI

At our last graduation ceremony, we had a 74- year old lady who not only walked across the stage but was one of our student speakers. She quit school to get married, raise her family and now was taking for herself and a primary goal for her was to get her GED®. She came and studied diligently---was offered and encouraged to vary her study style by getting on the computer -which she preferred not to do. She was NOT planning on getting a job or going back to school---this was strictly a personal goal she desperately wanted to achieve. My concern with CBTesting is that I'm sure we would have lost this lovely lady. Her story was on the front cover of our local paper, the ceremony was Skyped so her grandson in Afghanistan could watch. Granted, this example is an exception but I honestly can't say I'm ready to sacrifice these exceptions.

Do you see any options for these types of situations?

Terri Amaral

IWCC Adult Learning Center

Council Bluffs, IA

I would click "like" if we were on Facebook.

Gary L. Mills

Me too, and I would +1 on Google +.

Melinda Hefner

GED® Testing Service Response: We hear heartwarming stories like these almost monthly, and we too are touched to hear when a 90 year- old finally achieves his/her dream of earning a high school credential! We believe that the benefit of GED® testing, ever since its founding in 1942 is primarily to provide a real second chance for those who need the opportunity. With this always in mind, our primary focus will be to prepare those who need an opportunity and will use the GED® test credential as a stepping stone to career and/or postsecondary education and training. We believe that those who are pursuing the credential for personal reasons will still be able to do so and we are confident that many will still be able to achieve their personal goals.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I agree that most students must be encouraged to become comfortable with using computers because of the need to use them in the workplace, but she is the very kind of student I worry about -- the older student who only wants to earn a GED® for personal satisfaction.

Carolyn Fletcher

Cecil College

Learning to use the computer is not just about a job or going back to school; it is about life in our time. My mom is 95 and her greatest joy is going on Facebook and connecting with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When an adult comes to our adult education program, part of the intake is the inclusion of an online career credential program called WorkKeys. They are expected to work on the computer on this program as they are working toward a GED® or HS diploma. Too bad the graduate can't use the computer because then she could SKYPE her grandson herself.

Virginia Simmons

Not everyone is like your mom. Some people just want their GED®, can't we help everyone? If we do the one score i.e. (one is sliver and one is gold) it reminds me of grade school with the reading groups and the kids in the robins knew they weren't as smart as the kids in the blue jays. I hated grade school. Just saying.

Debra Artley

My parents are in their mid 80's and can easily access Facebook, the internet, etc., but if you asked either one of them to type anything other than a few words, it would take them hours! It's not just about computer skills...it's about keyboarding skills. If the writing portion of the GED® will be required to be taken on the computer, I have a real concern about the time that it will take someone to type their responses into the computer. Really, it shouldn't be a typing test, rather a test that measures one's true writing ability. I know my parents would do well in writing their thoughts out on paper, but typing them...totally different story!

Bev Dye

Casper, WY

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: As we discussed in a previous post, we believe that familiarity with basic technology and basic keyboarding skills will be essential to most jobs in the near future, and our focus as an organization is to prepare more adult learners to be successful in transition to careers and college.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I completely agree with Bev Dye. Of course knowing how to use computers is a critical skill. But imagine a situation where a student is able to write a strong response but fails the new literacy section because they couldn't type fast enough to finish in the given amount of time. Do we want a student's typing speed to be a factor in whether or not they pass the GED®? The other thing I wonder - if the new GED® being on computers is about job readiness and basic word document competency, will spelling still count, or will the test interface have a spell check, as it would in a real-life, job, or college context?

My major concern with making a high-stakes exam like the GED® computer-based, is that adds a skill that many current providers are ill-equipped to develop in students. Prioritizing our students' computer skills is great, but without a simultaneous serious expansion of funding resources to allow programs to modernize, I fear that there will not be enough free access to computers and training. I do not question the importance of computer skills in the 21st Century. But I wonder if making them a large part of a high-stakes test is the best way to go about inspiring change in that direction . Right now I know of several community-based GED® programs in NYC who do not have adequate resources to provide computer access for their students. They are constantly dealing with funding cuts and fighting for their ability to keep their doors open. Does a change like this favor larger/better funded programs at the expense of smaller quality programs that are community based? Does it favor students who have access to computers over those who do not?

Also, are public schools going to be doing all of their testing on computers or do they have other ways to develop and assess the computer skills of their students?

Mark Trushkowsky

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

In developing the next-generation test, we will be using data from real examinees to inform the item and test construction. For example, we will be field testing with a representative population of test takers in locations around the US each and every item that eventually appears on a test. Part of that field testing includes detailed analysis of whether the test is "speeded" (that is, whether candidates are being negatively impacted by time constraints) and we can then use that information to make adjustments to the test timing and other attributes prior to the launch of the test.

In addition, field testing on the computer offers us a powerful data set never before available where we can analyze each and every keystroke made by a test taker as well as the amount of time spent on a particular item or screen. This data, none of which is possible to obtain on paper-based test administration will give us real insight into how test-takers are interacting with the test and to make possible adjustments in attributes of the test before it is launched.

Finally, we accept some of the characteristics of paper-based testing without question because they are familiar to us. However, many paper-based processes are not necessarily without risk to test takers. For example, just the process of reading and answering questions in one book and then transferring answers to another paper is potentially confusing for test takers. Similarly, hand-writing a draft of a piece of writing and then manually editing and recopying that to another page is not necessarily the writing process used by most people today, and it is certainly not that used by the younger cohorts of our GED® test-taker population. As we develop a test that will be effective for adults in the future, we need to reflect the types of instruction and processes that are currently and will be used in the future.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Mark.Trushkowsky wrote:

Do we want a student's typing speed to be a factor in whether or not they pass the GED®?

We all have 'special interests' or bees in our bonnets - one of mine is the effect of affect on both learning and performance. Those students less confident on the keyboard may well be very powerfully, and very negatively, affected by their affective responses to presentation of a test on a keyboard. Their performance, their results, may thus indicate a very different situation than their 'real' literacy abilities. There is considerable research indicating that we (H. sapiens) are very much more affected by influences entirely other than the technical that we so enthusiastically assess and so readily take to be a credible and complete description of students. Our measurement systems are extremely creaky in this regard.

Hugo Kerr

I agree--I type slowly at best, but fast enough to do what I need to in a day. Clearly the timed written essay component will stress many and we'll need to revamp keyboarding skills to bring everyone along. But when will the GED® testing include voice to text capability? What about going directly from thought to voice to text and re-thinking what qualifies as a standard acceptable essay--clear thought, examples to support, organization, connections.

Arthur Upham, Ph. D.

Madison College-CPAAC

Madison, WI

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
We agree that basic keyboarding skills are becoming essential in the workplace. The new assessment will include basic technology skills beyond keyboarding - such as cut and paste - throughout the assessment. We also believe that adults should have access to tools that help teach them these basic skills for career success as well as for preparing for the GED® test.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Arthur Upham wrote: But when will the GED® testing include voice to text capability? What about going directly from thought to voice to text and re-thinking what qualifies as a standard acceptable essay--clear thought, examples to support, organization, connections.

Exactly my question! Many of the "bosses" and CEO's are doing just this! It certainly won't be long before it is commonplace.... so why not get ahead of the curve? Voice to text still needs "editing" ad "revision", but removes the "lower level"(need to keyboard input) skill.

Maureen Carro, MS, ET

Academic Learning Solutions

Alamo, CA

I like the voice to text idea and it is a good resource for those with disability! Or how about the test being verbal much like with a program Kurzweil that reads texts for students with disability. (See also Accommodations transcript.)

Ann Janowicz

Marywood University

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: At this time there hasn't been specific consideration given to speech to text technology and one of our concerns would be the noise and distraction potentially caused by students speaking their essay while others are trying to concentrate. Another issue is that even though speech-to-text technology has improved greatly in recent years, the technology is still not readily available in a high-stakes testing environment. However, one of the goals of computerization of the test now is that once the test is on a CBT platform, it is much easier for us to incorporate future technological advances as they become available. The GED® Testing Service certainly expects to keep up with changes in technology and incorporate them into the testing environment when possible.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

First, thank you, GED® TS, for participating in this discussion. I appreciate the format that has allowed all of us to become more informed.

In responding to comments regarding concerns for students unable to keyboard quickly enough to answer the questions in the allotted time, you say:

“We believe that familiarity with basic technology and basic keyboarding skills will be essential to most jobs in the near future, and our focus as an organization is to prepare more adult learners to be successful in transition to careers and college.”

Sorry for being blunt here, but your response seems to suggest that it's just too bad if someone can't type fast enough, because the GED® of the future is only for those who are career/college oriented. As far as those who are career oriented - there are many jobs that require computer skills, but there are also many jobs that don't require speedy keyboarding skills. It seems that in your response, you are excluding entirely a large group of folks who aren't proficient enough in keyboarding to pass the GED® test, but may need that GED® to get them a job that doesn't require being able to type quickly.

I guess my question would be: When designing the test, would GED® TS consider giving folks the option of doing the questions requiring a written response in a format other than on the computer (i.e., paper/pencil)?

Thanks again for allowing us to participate in this discussion.

Bev Dye

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: We've addressed some of this previously. We will add however that during our score comparability study that the overwhelming majority of test-takers finished each test faster - sometimes significantly so on the computer compared to the paper-based testing. This is another advantage to CBT - students can be more self-paced and may be able to complete their testing in less time. We also observed that even with the population that reported to have little familiarity with computers, they were able to complete the essay in the time allotted. We do agree with others that practice makes perfect, and that practice is advisable. Students should have some practice or exposure to basic keyboarding skills before sitting for a high-stakes test. The field testing in addition to the studies we've already conducted will give us more insight on how test-takers interact with the test.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Bev Dye wrote:

It seems that in your response, you are excluding entirely a large group of folks who aren't proficient enough in keyboarding to pass the GED® test, but may need that GED® to get them a job that doesn't require being able to type quickly.

A thought struck me when reading this line. This is veering towards research findings from the 80s & 90s(references long since lost I fear) which seemed to indicate that requiring literacy skills from job applicants well above those needed for performance of the job itself was really a means of selecting for acquiescence and acceptance of hierarchy and the status quo. The idea being that these successful candidates would demonstrate they were people who had, although perhaps being disadvantaged and failed in school, acquiesced in the system and were likely not to be assertive or disruptive in work.

Hugo Kerr

When I read the results of the pilot program [described below], I was struck by the leading nature of the phrasing of one of the questions: “If the GED® test had been available ONLY in a computer-based version when you tested, would you have taken the GED® test”?

Well…if the only format offered were an electronic one, most people would take it in that format. I encourage everyone to read this report—quite revealing:

“GED® Candidate Familiarity Survey: GED® Testing Service Research Studies, 2006-2”

http://www.acenet.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/ged /pubs/GEDCandidate.pdf

Stephanie Moran

I'd encourage everyone to keep in mind that this particular study was conducted in 2006. Much has changed since that time. I'd encourage folks to review the CBT usability and comparability study overviews as well (all completed in the past year) on the CBT microsite: www.gedcbt.org. Those overviews in particular can be found at: http://www.gedcbt.org/research.html.

CT Turner

Director, Public Affairs

GED® Testing Service

And take a look at the appendix race/ethnic distribution for the 539 respondents/participants across the US--a randomized survey is a basic tool to be sure, but really is this a "typical" sample of what GED® educators experience in the classroom: very very few African-Americans and fewer Hispanics? GED® Testing has a "published" research survey to support its decision, but really? Might they have surveyed the HEP programs across the country? (GED® training for migrant and seasonal workers).

Arthur Upham, Ph. D.

Madison College-CPAAC

Madison, WI

Let me explain my quickly made Excel distribution graph (please contact the author directly for this resource at gary.mills@my.eitc.edu). I went through the past 45 people who had taken the GED® Essay at my center. I felt it was a reasonable sample. The units represented above are the minutes they took to create the essay. More than likely, the ones using very little time probably received a non-passing score.

I noticed that many adult educators were making comments about teaching to use a 45 minute window. Notice how many use MORE than 45 minutes. Where the current test has a maximum time limit (2 hours) that includes both parts, if a student completes part one early, they are able to use the additional time to assist them in the creation of the essay. As illustrated, many use that extra time. Others find the extra time as a factor of less stress by knowing it is there if needed.

My comment to the stakeholders are that if a similar system of timing is used for the 21st Century version, then those with limited keyboarding skills would be able to carve out extra minutes by completing the first section early, (most do). In six years of administering the test, I have only had one student that did not complete the multiple choice language questions within the maximum time limit. If the essay/extended response section has a maximum time on its own, then I would have more concern with slow moving fingers.

One more observation about computer based testing from a testing examiner.......I have many more comments about the essay being a challenge in that they had to create it by hand writing, where in the 21st century, they are used to using a keyboard for composition.

The concern I have in test administration would be that teachers will need to teach how to complete all subjects of the test in a "moderately distracting" environment. A student may end up sitting adjacent to another Pearson examinee with a large amount of essay material. Some examinees can find the constant clatter of a keyboard distracting. They will need experience in how to block it out. I have had that experience in my testing center with those taking a multiple choice placement test sitting near an examinee working to produce a 300 word essay exam for a distance learning exam.

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID

I've appreciated all thoughts and comments in this discussion---thanks for sharing. One final, nagging question----why not provide CBT and paper versions of the tests? One size does not fit all and I know in Iowa, we've felt cuts to programming for the last few years. We are a very rural state in which testers usually have to do some sort of travel to a testing center (a costly factor) and as so many others have indicated-much of the population we serve will definitely feel the crunch of further increases to the overall pursuit of getting a GED®. Local and state agencies continue to see cuts to their budgets as well and it will be even more challenging for them to assist clients with the cost of GED® spending.

I afraid I sound negative-and I'm normally a very positive person---but the facts are what they are. I would encourage the powers-that-be to simply "consider".

Terri Amaral

IWCC Adult Learning Center

Council Bluffs, IA

How many areas of the United States were factored in to the expense of the new GED®?

How many areas of the United States were surveyed and/or piloted for the new GED®? To my knowledge, the closest Missouri pilot project was over 100 miles away. Most of road was double lane highway but not accessible for my students to participate in the pilot project.

How will class sites be given funds to provide this preparatory service to our students? AEL is the lowest funded educational entity in the United States. Was this factor taken in to consideration?

How many classrooms have access to computers? How many classrooms have access to the internet? How many classrooms have teachers prepared/certified to teach computer literacy? How many classrooms have computers? How many classrooms have computer support/maintenance? How many classrooms have access to high speed internet? Most downloadable programs need high speed internet. Dial up internet is not a viable answer.

Will federal funding be provided to my classrooms for this new GED® test preparation? Will states be required to provide this funding if the federal government will not provide the funding? Will local entities be required to provide the funding? Will local AEL directors have to find the funding?

Deb Williams

Sedalia, MO

GED TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

The comparability study for computer-based testing was conducted in a number of states spread across the U.S. We believe that the sample covered a wide range of test-taker demographics, including but not limited to: different geographical regions, age, ethnicity, gender, etc. and these demographics were compared to those scores on paper-based testing.

On your second question, there will be several challenges in making such a significant shift across the adult education sphere. We will all need to work with federal and state governments, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and for-profit partners to ensure we have the necessary resources in order to serve adult learners at the level they need in order to be successful in the workforce. We have been in conversations with several of these types of entities over the past two years, and will continue to advocate for resources and support for adult learners.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Costs Associated with the New Test


View a one page Computer-Based Testing Base Pricing Overview



GED® is partnering with Pearson Vue Inc. As you may already know, Pearson owns or controls SAT, Accuplacer and many other nationally recognized assessments for not only academic assessment purposes but professional competencies as well. The frustrating issue is that we are already getting clear indications that a result of this partnership with GED® will be a dramatic increase in costs to community colleges and students taking the tests. I thought technology was supposed to cost less over time not more...

Daniel Koopman Ed.S, M.Ed.

GED® Testing Service Response:

The costs of computer-based testing are actually quite comparable to those for paper-based testing. The issue of cost gets complex because GED® testing in jurisdictions is quite highly subsidized at different levels in different locations (e.g. some costs of administering the program is covered by the state, and some by local community colleges or local community based organizations who subsidize testing center operation costs). GED® Testing Service is committed to finding ways to make the cost of testing affordable for the widest range of candidates possible. That having been said, the current system tends to offer the same subsidies to all candidates in a jurisdiction, regardless of financial circumstances or need. We are currently exploring ways in which jurisdictions would be able to make more targeted decisions about what candidates are going to be subsidized and to what degree. As we implement computer-based testing, each jurisdiction's unique policies are being considered individually to ensure appropriate and affordable pricing to the candidates.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

To me, there are a number of cost factors to be concerned about.

One is the cost of the new test. Will it be prohibitive to our students who are already at the bottom of the earnings ladder? I am hoping that this is being taken into consideration.

The second is the cost of purchasing new materials to prepare students. With shrinking budgets everywhere, what types of materials are going to be necessary to properly prepare our students and how much will they cost?

Another concern is the amount and type of computer/on-line time will our students need to be properly comfortable with the computer testing. Not all ABE programs have access to banks of computers available for student use. Again, cost prohibits the number available and the amount of time, not necessarily the accessibility.

Lastly, will the Official Practice Test also be on-line (and why would it not be?)? If so, will there be a cost there as well? AND again, access to adequate numbers of computers for Practice Testing could also be an issue.

Jeffery Seth

Ashtabula County Technical and Career Center

Jefferson, OH

GED® Testing Service Response: The cost for the new test can't be determined until the new assessment is further along in the development process. Without a doubt, there are test-takers who have few means. In a study released last summer, we found that 46,000 individuals in all but five states received $3.3 million in scholarships, grants, and other subsidies for GED® testing. We are carefully considering all potential barriers to access.

The GED® Testing Service will be working more closely than ever with organizations that will be charged with creating preparation materials for the test. Because test-takers come with such a wide range of academic skills, materials incorporating a variety of approaches will be needed. We expect that materials will be available at a variety of price points that will make them accessible to most test-takers.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Hello everyone,

Back in April and May on this discussion list, subscribers shared some of their practices and strategies for defraying GED® costs. I built a transcript of that discussion and you can find it posted at the Adult Literacy Education Wiki (ALEWiki) in the Assessment section.

  1. Go to: http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Main_Page
  2. Click on Assessment Information in the Topics box
  3. Scroll down to the Discussions section; it's at the top and says NEW!!

I hope you find this information helpful.

Marie Cora

Assessment Discussion List Moderator

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Thank you for sharing this Marie!

The GED® Testing Service Panel

What about jurisdictions that do not charge for the test and are legislatively prohibited from doing so?

Nicole Viggiano

Community Learning Center

North Greece, NY

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

The fees that are charged to test-takers will continue to be ultimately decided and approved by each jurisdiction - just as testing fees are now determined by each jurisdiction. For example testing fees range from $0 (in three states), to over $200 in some places. We will be working closely with each state as we prepare to launch CBT in the jurisdiction to have each one determine how testing costs will be subsidized or not subsidized by the state. As an aid to these conversations, we are collecting and analyzing all state regulations and legislation regarding GED® testing administration policies in each jurisdiction. We have also begun more targeted conversations with some jurisdictions where important decisions will need to be made in order for CBT and the new assessment to be successful. New York is, in fact, a state where we have spent significant time in conversations with the state department of education (NYSED), with state legislators, city policymakers, and community groups.

The GED® Testing Service Panel



Will we (testing centers) need to buy a testing license from Pearson along with the annual testing center fees and, test batteries or the like? Can you please give a general break down of what we will need to have in order to administer the new GED®. i.e. computers, books, internet?

Debra Artley

Debra... Thank you for your question, could you clarify if you are asking about GED® testing on computer with the current GED® test, or after 2014 when the new GED® assessment is available?

Thanks,

CT Turner

GED® Testing Service

Washington, DC

After the 2014 new GED® Assessment. I'm the Examiner at a small, very rural Consolidate School, with a number of addendums. We don't charge for testing so cost and budget is everything to our program.

Debra Artley

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

Testing centers who offer GED® tests for the 2002 series will need to become authorized Pearson VUE testing centers. The testing centers requirements are fairly minimal and more in-depth information can be found on the Pearson VUE website at www.PearsonVUE.com/PVTC, and a robust set of FAQs and other information about computer-based testing can be found on our CBT website at: www.gedcbt.org. There isn't a licensing fee or annual fee- only a minimal one-time fee for security equipment (the two cameras and electronic signature pad).

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Regarding cost and the approval of test sites, those interested in continuing to operate testing centers by adding computers and becoming Peason Vue certified might want to visit the PV website and begin to understand the IT and facility requirements involved. (If this point has already been covered in the discussions, I do apologize.)

Susan Hackney

GED® Testing Service Response:

We agree that this would be a great start. The direct link is: www.PearsonVUE.com/PVTC.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I went to their site on the web and it seems you need to buy their software and meet many other requirements and I wonder what the actual costs are for the test site, if they even manage to get approved?

Karin Miller

Miami Dade College



Where is the funding for local GED® programs to pay this new GED® testing?

Do the "powers that be" understand that many local GED® programs don't have the resources to put the students in front of the computer to take this test?

We have the "cart before the horse". That's a local expression that means we know where we need to being going, but we have chosen the hardest path to get there.

What's the point of new GED® test when few students will be prepared to take the test because local GED® programs don't have the funding to prepare the student?

Debra Williams

GED® STESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

We all understand that many of our test-takers face economic challenges and we must work to keep costs affordable. We also, however, shouldn't assume that all test-takers need the same level of support or subsidy. In this tough economic environment, states will need to think creatively about whom and what they will subsidize in order to use their resources most wisely. We have seen also that there is little correlation between cost and lower participation. Several states have significantly raised test-taker fees with little effect on participation rates, but this has in some instances corresponded with increased pass rates. We also have examples in some states and localities that have offered limited periods of free testing without seeing any noticeable uptick in volume.

Another large example of how this correlation doesn't always appear to hold can be found in New York State - where testing is free - which has the lowest pass rate in the country. This has also created a system where students have no vested interest -or skin in the game- which has led to no-show rates significantly higher than other placed across the country, and at the same time significant waitlists.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

My conservative guess is that about 60% of my current GED® tests are paid by another source than the student (because they struggle to afford the cost). The source of payments for the test, range from shelters, government agencies, donations, relatives, and a variety of others.

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID


Data Reporting and Use

In an effort to make data-informed decision-making towards meeting the College Completion Agenda goals, will there be enhanced learner analytics and data reporting with the new testing system?

M. Joanne Kantner, Ed.D.

Joliet Junior College

Joliet, IL

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: One of the most significant changes with the new assessment system will be the enhanced reporting available to test-takers and instructors about performance on the test. The current test series offers very limited information to test takers about what skills they successfully demonstrated on the test and the areas in which they need to improve. The new test will provide information to test-takers to help them target specific areas to target to help them improve their performance through retesting. The new assessment will continue to base the high-school equivalency cut score using testing data collected from graduating high school seniors, while the career and college readiness endorsements will be based on performance criteria that are deemed essential to ensuring that an adult is college and career ready.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

The GED® panel wrote:

"One of the most significant changes with the new assessment system will be the enhanced reporting available to test-takers and instructors about performance on the test. The current test series offers very limited information to test takers about what skills they successfully demonstrated on the test and the areas in which they need to improve. The new test will provide information to test-takers to help them target specific areas to target to help them improve their performance through retesting."

Also, on page 7 of the powerpoint presented by GED® TS called "Today's Priorities, Tomorrow's Success", there is mention of using a diagnostic to identify learner needs, and the delivery of customized instruction.

I would like to know a lot more about the enhanced reporting that will be available to test-takers. Exactly what kind of breakdown of skills are we talking about? What is described in the above two sources can be interpreted in many ways. My fear is that it means something where students will be told that they understand some specific concepts/topics in math and then not be expected/required to come to class when the class is working on those areas. If this is the case, it would have some serious implications for instruction. Having a system of assessment reporting that focuses on skills rooted solely in content reinforces the idea to students that math is procedural. It also seems to ignore the foundation of the way the CCSS (re)defines math education. They look at math learning on two levels - one, content knowledge which builds from year to year, and two, developing 8 standards of mathematical practice. The 8 standards are an attempt to redefine what it means to do math in a classroom. Those 8 standards define what mathematically proficient students can do and they are not attached to any specific content or level - the idea is that they are standards of practice that should be present in kindergarden math classes all the way up through high school math classes.

Obviously they are still being written, but can you explain what the specific goals are for both the pre-assessment and enhanced reporting? Also, can you give some details about specifically what kinds of information will be presented in these reports?

Thanks,

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

We don't have specific details yet as to what will be provided on the detailed score reports or the detailed reports for the diagnostic assessments yet - those are still in development. Significant time will need to be invested in what types of research will need to be conducted to ensure the level and type of detail that can be provided on the final score reports. We have a number of advisory groups, expert panels, research advisory groups, and will continue to convene even more stakeholder groups as we continue to explore the possibilities and scope out the score reporting possibilities. We will be soliciting feedback and review from the adult education and employer communities, among others, as we design the reporting system.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Different Language Versions

Thank you again, Marie, GED®TS responders, and discussion participants for this informative discussion. I have a follow up question to one of CT's responses to Karin Ann Miller's question about different language versions of the test and being able to retest in English: (See also Testing & Credentials transcript.)

The same answer applies to the question about different language versions. There are a number of policy questions that will need answers and extensive conversations about such policies will need to be held with various stakeholders. The issues identified in your question, however, are indeed the subject of our current policy discussions.

CT or others: Can you identify some of the other policy questions you are discussing in regard to different language versions? Can you identify some of the stakeholders with whom you are having these conversations?

Thank you,

Suzanne Leibman

College of Lake County

Grayslake, IL

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:

We are very early in the assessment development process and many of these specific policies aren't yet on the table. As you likely understand, many of the different language policies are determined by the states - some have English-only laws, many do not allow different language tests to count towards receiving their state high school equivalency credential, or allow it but have English language proficiency exams in addition to the GED® test. If you have thoughts on the topic, we encourage you to send them to CT (ct.turner@GED®testingservice.com) to ensure they are captured when these policies begin to be discussed.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Employer Engagement

Is there employer engagement in the development of the new test?

Jennifer K. Foster

State Director for GED® Testing

Springfield, IL

Very good question regarding employer engagement. I would also like to ask about engagement with career link agency advisers.

Ann Janowicz

Marywood University

Scranton, PA

GED® Testing Service Response:

Yes, there is employer engagement in the test development process. For example, we have had had representatives from workforce at our Career and College Readiness Summit, on our Policy Board, and as reviewers of our assessment content. In addition to this, when we move into setting performance standards on the test in 2013 we will have a significant presence of employers reflected in the stakeholder groups that are involved in that process. We are always looking for additional suggestions and resources for involving employers, so please let us know if there are other specific organizations or approaches that you can recommend to us.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

There was a large amount of work done by Ford motor and career technical education that may correlate to what you are doing. It has an educational component linked to contextual learning in the four key areas that you discuss.

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

GED® Testing Service Response:
Jeff, thanks for sharing this information with us and the group.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

How about also involving labor and unions as stakeholders in developing both the test and the performance standards? I think we would want to ensure a broad range of perspectives for defining the knowledge and skills necessary for succeeding in the workforce.

Thank you,

Judy Hofer

The Literacy Center @ UNM-Taos

Ranchos de Taos, NM

In regard to employer engagement, it is my understanding that the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) sent a letter to GED®TS on July 22nd of this year. NCCER was created in 1996 by 125 leading contractors, associations, and manufacturers to address critical workforce development needs in the construction industry. Since that time NCCER has developed standardized, competency-based curricula for construction professionals called the Contren Learning Series, published in partnership with Pearson. This program also includes training process accreditation, instructor certification, national registry, assessment and certification processes serving more than 55 trades and craft areas.

The purpose of NCCER's letter to GED®TS was to recommend that GED®TS utilize the current GED® test standard as the high school equivalency cut off point in the new GED® assessment. NCCER further noted that "based on member experience", it strongly believes that the current norm referenced GED® passing score should remain the high school equivalency cut off point as it is the commonly accepted minimum qualification for employment in many industries, such as construction, and GED® graduates have proven themselves capable of successfully completing NCCER training programs. The letter stated that "NCCER is concerned that a somewhat arbitrary high GED® completion standard will unnecessarily restrict the available pool of individuals qualified for employment and training in the construction trades. Such a development would be detrimental as it artificially restricts the development of the candidate and the needs of the construction industry."

It has been nearly two months since NCCER sent its letter to GED®TS, and it has not yet had a response from GED®TS. While I cannot and do not speak for NCCER, this state of affairs leads me to at least question GED®TS's employer engagement process. Could you provide specific information about your employer engagement process so that we may share accurate information with our employer friends in the public and private sector?

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Jon Engel

Community Action Inc.

San Marcos, TX

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
We do apologize that that response to NCCER has been delayed. This is not because of a lack of commitment to employer engagement, however, but simply a reflection that the emphasis over the summer has been to solidify the assessment targets on which the assessment is to be based and to commence the new test development activities. Even as we write these responses, we are in the process of contacting a wide variety of stakeholders to participate in ongoing test development reviews, and we will be issuing invitations to NCCER and other organizations to become involved in the process of vetting the new assessment system and its components.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Essays and Extended Constructed Responses

Hello,

In this post you said that the new test will be "primarily on the computer." My concern is with your use of "primarily." Could you please describe aspects of the test that will not be computer -based? I am particularly concerned about the essay component.

Thank you,

Shannon Allen

Literacy Assistance Center, NY

GED® Testing Service Response:
Our use of the phrase "Primarily on computer" was meant to indicate that the typical and predominant mode of test administration will be on computer. This is necessary because the content that is being assessed on the test includes higher order thinking and problem-solving skills that require the use of different types of test items beyond the traditional multiple-choice format. We will make a paper test form available for accommodation purposes, however, just as we make Braille forms available for those who are blind or visually impaired. We expect, however, that the great majority of test-takers will test via computer.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Following up on Shannon's question, if the essays in both the Literacy and Social Studies sections of the new GED® will both be computer-based, will there be a time limit? My concern is that if the essays are timed and on computers, in addition to any writing and critical thinking skills the essay seeks to assess, it would also be a test of typing speed. This is a concern, because as Jeffrey Seth points out, many ABE and GED® programs have no/limited computer resources for students.

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

GED® Testing Service Response: The next-generation test will include "extended constructed response" items [what we currently call the "essay" - we are moving away from the "essay" terminology since it seems to suggest the old "5-paragraph essay" format that many of us learned in school, which is not necessarily the model response desired] in both the Literacy (Language Arts reading and writing) and Social Studies tests. In addition, each of the tests will also include several brief constructed response items as well as fill-in-the-blank items. As a result, test-takers will need to have some basic keyboarding skills and familiarity with the most basic word-processing features (such as cut-and-paste). Although these skills are certainly new for the GED® test, the Common Core State Standards are written with an expectation of basic facility with technology. Test-takers preparing for the next-generation test will need to practice using technology before taking the test, and these are skills which will be prerequisites for success in career and college. As technology becomes integrated into even the most basic work environments, it is becoming essential that adults have some familiarity with basic computer skills in order to compete in the workforce.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Before I sound off, I would like to thank Martin for providing this information regarding the new GED® assessment and for being willing to put himself out there in front of an adult education community that is worried and wary about the proposed new assessment and for profit business model. So, thanks Martin. You are a brave soul.

Now for some good old sounding off! Like many, I was curious about whether the new GED® would include an essay and how writing would be assessed in general. I was dismayed to hear that we are moving away from the word essay and replacing it with the wholly obfuscatory phrase “extended constructed response”. It strikes me that creation of terminology like “extended constructed response” is exactly what is wrong with the assessment industry today. What is an “extended constructed response” anyway? A two sentence answer to an open question? A five paragraph essay? A piece of persuasive writing? An eight paragraph essay with references and citations? a joke? It is probably a catch all term meant to capture all of the above and more (OK, maybe not the joke).

“Extended constructed response” is exactly the kind of “gobbledly gook” we already have way too much of. Can you imagine telling your GED® students; “Class, we will be learning how to write an extended constructed response today”.

I am reminded of the old KISS acronym—keep it simple .. which brings me to my next point. I take issue with the moving away from the essay terminology employed by GED® TS. I think I know what Martin means when he says the old five paragraph essay might not be the model response desired. Its more jargon for saying the extended constructed response is meant to assess more things than one's ability to write a five paragraph essay. However, I would urge GED® TS to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. It seems that teaching the “old five paragraph essay” has served quite well for at least a couple of centuries. It would also appear that the ability to write a cogent five paragraph essay is still a valid measure as a minimum requirement for college success.

In closing this extended constructed response, I think that computer based testing is great. We do a disservice to our students by not emphasizing computer and digital literacy. I just wish you would come up with something more understandable and specific than extended constructed response, so we know what we are teaching to, so to speak. You know like the word, essay. I can think of no faster way to get GED® teachers to embrace computer literacy instruction than to tell them they better teach basic computer software and keyboard skills because their students will have to write the essay portion of the GED® exam on a computer.

Kind Regards,

Jon Engel

Community Action Inc

San Marcos, TX

Thanks John... I asked for some clarification from Marty on this one. I know we have to walk a fine line with keeping things simple and keeping them accurate to the assessment community.

His response...

We are using terms such as "constructed response" to indicate that a variety of types of writing will likely be assessed on the new GED® assessment. No matter what we call the direct writing assessment, however, what we believe is most important about the new writing tasks is that they will focus on assessing whether test-takers are prepared for success in college and career. For that reason, the new writing tasks will be in response to one or more reading selections, requiring test-takers to support their positions with evidence drawn from the passages. We will be releasing in early 2012 more detailed information about the direct writing assessment as well as other open-ended items that require test-takers to provide some type of written response, and the draft rubrics that will be used to evaluate them.

CT Turner

Director, Public Affairs

GED® Testing Service

Washington, DC



I agree with some of today's post regarding the relevancy of the five paragraph essay. If we are going to test to determine a student's level of readiness for post-secondary education, then it is fair to say that writing an essay is going to be a big part of their educational journey. Even if they are involved in a trade school, they are bound to write. Writing cohesively (let's not worry about the spelling) is also a skill that we can be sure employers would appreciate. Will a "constructed response" assure that the student can enter college and not bomb out on all those papers they will be faced with writing? Or should I ask, will we eventually be informed of exactly how the writing is to be assessed?

Thank you,

Ann Janowicz

Marywood University

Scranton, PA

GED® Testing Service Response: One of the key objectives of the new GED® assessment is to ensure that adults have the writing skills to succeed in career and college. The current direct writing assessment on the 2002 Series test doesn't adequately reflect the level of writing skills needed by adults in today's society. The direct writing assessments on the new test will involve test-takers writing in response to one or more reading selections on the assessment. This more closely parallels the type of writing that is done on the job or in postsecondary education programs.

The rubrics by which the writing assessments will be evaluated are in development and will be released to the field in draft form in early 2012 to provide guidance in preparing adults for the new exam.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

While I realize, of course, that the five paragraph essay is not something to be engraved in stone, and that other topics and styles require different forms, but nevertheless I am wondering what relevant research has supported that the five paragraph essay is no longer a 'model' in college-level courses. Perhaps we're hopelessly retrograde, but we do teach it as a foundation, emphasizing it can be modified if the topic or form (synthesis, critique, etc.) requires it.

Bonnie Odiorne

Post University

Waterbury, CT


Funding Hard and Software

How do you fund the computers and software?

Debra Williams

Deb, all of our computer labs have been paid for by grant writing. For us, Dollar General and Verizon have been the two major sources. Dollar General just funded us$10,000 for a software program, "Tell Me More" for our ESL population and our low functioning population.

Virginia Simmons

What a great question.....we do have funds and constantly write grants for these. However, I can tell you that computers are fairly inexpensive than they have been in prior years. The apple products such as the iPads are the more expensive products. I believe if you share the need in your community, surely you can acquire at least one or two new computers a year. However, a partnership with the local library is always the better answer for those communities that do not have monies for computers. Most libraries across the nation have computer access and internet access for the community. They are a literacy institution and this would be a great place to tap into the computer access for students.

You might think I work in a very prosperous program. I do not and have been in many programs across the state for the last twelve years and I can tell you that even the most remote locations have computers, especially the libraries. But I also know what mountains can be moved when you shout your need to your community as well. I hope this helps.

Kay Combs, M.A.Ed.

Center for Lifelong Learning

Georgetown, KY

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE: Thanks for your comments on this! We all need to work as may possible funding channels as possible - including foundations - to make this a success. It sounds like a centralized resource on grant writing for smaller gifts/awards, and a database of potential funders would be a worthwhile endeavor moving forward.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Norming and Performance Levels

Hi Martin,

First of all thank you for this opportunity to ask some questions regarding the new GED®. I have a million questions, but I'd like to start off with the following two:

1) According to the fact sheet from the GED® Testing Program, the "vision" is to go from a "passing standard empirically set based on norm-referenced performance of graduating high school seniors" to "Proficiency levels based on criterion-referenced performance standards for both high school and college/career readiness". That seems to suggest that the new test will not be normed against graduating high school seniors, but in your welcome message for this discussion you wrote that the passing standard will continue to be informed by the performance of graduating high school seniors. Can you clarify how exactly the passing standard will be determined?

2) I understand that with the new GED®, there will be two levels of credentials: a High School equivalency, and a career and college readiness credential. If the higher threshold signifies that a student is career and college ready, does it also signify that a student who only passes the lower threshold is neither career nor college ready? If that is the case, what will be the value of the high school equivalency? (See also Testing & Credentials transcript.)

Thank you for your time and responses,

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

Martin or other GED® Testing colleagues,

Could you clarify please: Will the new test be norm referenced? If so, will it be normed on graduating seniors as has been the case in the past? If not, how will you know that passing the GED® test is equivalent to graduating from high school?

Thanks,

David J. Rosen

GED® Testing Service Response:

The approach we will be using to set the performance standards on the next-generation test is still under development in consultation with our various technical and policy advisory boards. However, the approach will incorporate a couple of different components. First, it will be important that the passing standards reflect actual performance of students who take the test. However, using a completely norm-referenced approach doesn't provide all of the information about what skills and competencies have actually been demonstrated at the passing level, so the norm-referenced approach will be supplemented by an approach of setting “cut-score descriptors” to provide skill information that will be useful to test-takers, educators, and others.

Because of the use of actual performance data in setting the high school equivalency cut score, students who pass the test at the lower of the two performance threshold will have the same level of skills as graduating high school seniors do today. That having been said, it is clear that a large percentage of high school graduates do not have the skills necessary to succeed in college or in the jobs of the future. The ultimate goal for most test-takers would therefore be to strive towards the upper performance levels, to help ensure their success in postsecondary education programs and careers.

The subject of setting performance levels is a massive discussion in and of itself, and the response above doesn't do justice to the complexities involved. Because performance standards won't be set until 2013 we have some time to fine-tune the approach that is taken, so that the performance standards strike a balance between being appropriately rigorous and yet still attainable – a tall order, indeed.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

As I read the response, it gives me a much better concept of the standards being created. My guess is that about 1 out of 3 GED® examinees only desire to “pass the test.” Another 1 in 3 recognizes and sees the long-term picture, but don't have a strong commitment to meet the goal.

I have people on a regular basis who look at me and wonder why they do not perform well on the Compass Test, when they “passed” the GED®. With an additional emphasis on a higher cut score, it should communicate the importance of having more than a passing score.

I hope it works to achieve that goal.

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Gary, this underscores the need to look at the GED® testing process as a system that is connected to preparation programs and to transitions to college and career - a stepping stone that has connections to next steps for each individual - not an ending point. We believe that the college ready endorsements may put an end to some of the frustrations in different assessments targets between college readiness assessments and GED® testing.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Part of your response confuses me about the relationship between the “new” GED® and the Common Core Standards. You write, “…students who pass the test at the lower of the two performance threshold will have the same level of skills as graduating high school seniors do today.” What confuses me is that the Common Core Standards set a different (arguably higher) standard for high school graduation than is presently employed in most schools. Thus, will the lower performance threshold be the score of graduates from schools that have implemented the common core standards, or from schools using existing standards, or a mix? There seems to be little point in using a mix (which will change over time), and it would SEEM to make sense to use the scores of students who graduated from schools that have implemented the Core Standards. Otherwise, in what sense is the “new” GED® aligned with those standards? Can you explain this for us.

Forrest Chisman

Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
It will take a number of years for state K-12 systems to implement Common Core standards at the high school level, so the vast majority of high schools in 2014 will be using their current curriculum. The new assessment will continue to base the high-school equivalency cut score using testing data collected from graduating high school seniors, while the career and college readiness endorsements will be based on performance criteria that are deemed to ensure an adult is college and career ready.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Every so often, it is announced that the GED® is going to change, become more difficult, etc, etc. Well, it won't. The GED® is a norm referenced test. That means that it is standardized based on the knowledge of the average high school graduate in the US. Educational achievement of children in the US has not increased significantly, so essentially, the norm hasn't changed. The average high school graduate performs at an 8th grade level in reading, writing and math skills. Hence, that is the average performance level to obtain a GED® certificate. However, passing scores have a range starting at two standard deviations below the mean. That is an approximate 6 grade reading, writing and math level. Of course, on the other end, earning near perfect scores puts a student at the 99% of high school graduates.

What does this mean?

The GED® is essentially a reading, writing and math test. While it has science and social science areas, it is reading ability that allows students to pass this areas and not necessarily content knowledge. If students can read, write and do math at an 8th grade level, and they know how to take a multiple choice test in a computer, they will do fine.

As long as students can read and understand newspaper and magazine articles; write a 5 paragraph essay, perform arithmetic operations and very basic algebra with a few word problems where they may have to figure out the area, circumference, percentages, etc; and interpret basic charts, they will have no problem passing the GED®. All they'll need to do is practice how to take the new version of the test in a computer.

Andres Muro

Do you have data that supports," Educational achievement of children in the US has not increased significantly, so essentially, the norm hasn't changed. The average high school graduate performs at an 8th grade level..." With the standards that we have in-place in Michigan our students' curriculum is far more inclusive and more rigorous than it was 10 years ago. My example would be classes needed to graduate has changed significantly to include: (i.e. Algebra II and Global studies, CAD classes, keyboarding in first grade). These changes alone and the changes in media, have through exposure alone, made our students more knowledgeable than students of 10 years ago.

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

I'm inclined to agree with Andres. I wonder if the GED® folks can explain why they decided to continue with a norm referenced test, rather than to implement a criterion-referenced test -- with the criteria being the common core standards?

Forrest Chisman

CAAL

GED® Testing Service Response:
The new assessment will include significantly different types of item and different types of writing tasks (constructed response), and is expected to depart from previous test series in many ways. In reading the posts from today, and after reading your email, there appears to be some confusion about the two primary performance levels/cut scores. The first performance level, likely the one that will be used to determine high school equivalency, will not be just norm referenced as is the case with the current assessment. This performance level will be determined by using a number on inputs - what is commonly called "a briefing book method". Essentially, the cut score will be set by blending our criterion- referenced targets and the empirical data that we will gather on performance of graduate high school seniors. The primary reason for this approach is to create balance between the standards set for GED® test-takers and for the average graduating high school student. It is simply not fair to require more of GED® test-takers when it will take several years for most states to implement Common Core State Standards - and several more years for states to have similar standards in place for graduation.

The cut scores for the career and college ready endorsements will also be set based on the briefing book method - meaning that it will be based on a blend of criterion referenced targets and empirical data that we will conduct with first-year college students who have successfully completed credit-bearing classes.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I have always wondered what incentive high school graduating seniors in the norming groups have to do their best on the GED® tests. Since norming will continue to be part of what determines passing the first performance level, how will you ensure the norming groups are doing their best?

Gail Hemsoth

Lane Community College

Cottage Grove, OR

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Gail, this is a great question, and it is one that we have we have been brainstorming about for over a year. It is very important to have a representative, motivated sample involved in the standardization sample in order to establish cut scores that are reflective of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the typical high-school graduate. In order to enhance the motivation of the standardization sample, we are considering a number of incentives that may include monetary gift cards, books and/or curriculum materials that may be of interest to the test taker, subsidized testing fees for other tests that students may need for college entrance and/or to establish workplace readiness, raffles for technology products (e.g., such as a tablet computer, IPod etc.) etc. We are also considering a special raffle for students who perform well in the test in order to enhance motivation to perform at their best.

We will also look at other data to use in conjunction with test scores. We will be administering a survey that includes questions regarding course taking patterns, grades, and questions that measure motivation, drive etc. We can also use psychometric techniques to examine patterns in item performance to determine if students may have lost motivation at some point during the test. Students that show evidence of lack of motivation may be dropped from the final analysis once we examine a variety of statistics and other information to inform our decision of the final sample.

We will also be conducting a variety of other studies that will help us understand the knowledge, skills, and abilities that correspond to the scale score where we set the cut scores for high-school equivalency and career and college readiness. We will compare this information to other published studies that have been conducted by lead researchers and other organizations that conduct similar research. We will work with technical and policy advisors, as well as, adult educators in order to make final decision regarding the cut scores.

By combining these types of techniques, we are hopeful that we will obtain a standardization sample that is motivated and representative of the typical performance of high school graduates. And, we hope that the additional studies that we are planning will help to validate our assumption that our goal of a representative motivated sample was achieved.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Operational Questions about the New Test

I understand the cost is rising considerably due to automation. Will a student be able to pay online: by credit card, paypal, automatic transfer from bank account (e-check)?

I am curious as to how fast the scoring will be with the new test. Will the test score automatically? How soon will the student know if they passed and how quickly will they receive their diploma and score transcript?

What will be the rule on retakes? How many versions will the test open with?

Also, will the system to sign-up for the GED® exam involve a website to register, by zip code/location? Can a student register in person at a designated test site?

What requirements will be in place and will they be uniform nationwide, or differ on a state-by-state basis?

Will a student need to show state residency? Social Security number/card?

Will the student get an email ‘reminder' before their test date? If the student has an emergency and misses the test appointment, will they be able to reschedule without paying again?

Will the student get an email to confirm that they tested, and/or passed?

These are among the many questions our students are asking.

Thank you!

Karin Ann Miller

GED® Testing Service Response:
Many of the operational details of the new test are still being worked out, as they involve not only test construction issues, but policy issues that are set by jurisdictions. In addition, we are working with jurisdictions right now in computerizing the 2002 Series GED® test, and as that implementation is occurring, many of the operational processes that are planned for the next-generation test administration will begin to be put in place even for the current test series.

The new testing system will be able to process payments from individuals in a variety of forms, including credit and debit cards and vouchers that may be provided by programs supporting testing in a jurisdiction. Registration for testing will be accomplished in a variety of ways, from a user-friendly registration website, by visiting a testing center, or by making a call to a toll-free number. We expect that most test-takers will eventually register themselves using the registration website. This type of process incorporates a lot of advantages for test takers, such as automated email reminders of test appointments, schedules for all local testing centers, and the ability to reschedule the test up to a certain time before the test is "locked-in" and confirmed (i.e, 48 hours before testing begins, most likely).

Once the next-generation test is in place, test-takers will have the ability to receive an immediate unofficial score report, even though the test incorporates constructed response items. We will be using artificial intelligence scoring systems to produce these scores. Although these unofficial scores may be available immediately, we will work with jurisdictions to determine how the credential is awarded, as different jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond testing before awarding them a high school equivalency credential. Other policies, such as retake policies, have been driven in the past by the limited number of test forms available. Because of the flexibility of computer-delivered testing, many more test forms are possible and so a more flexible retake policy (i.e., allowing more retakes) will likely be possible.

We hope this gives you a sense of how some of these operational issues are being approached. As we continue implementing CBT with the current series, some operational details may change as new and better ways of using technology in the process are developed.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I would hope that GED® TS would be willing to consider a “lock-in” time of 24 hours. This demographic is a very volatile and fragile group. They are not as stable and focused as those taking tests for occupational certifications or graduate exams. Many get faced with “last minute” factors that cancel their testing session, such as called in to work, unreliable child care or get called in to see a judge about their probation status. If the computer is going to open up an avenue of flexibility for testing, it should also be flexible enough when a crisis in their lives takes place.

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
This policy is still under review, and we must balance the needs for test-taker flexibility with the need for testing centers to be able to support themselves by reducing the number of empty testing slots.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Will the testing centers that are available now be the ones that administer the new test when it is rolled out?

Mike Hemmeter,

San Angelo, TX

In terms of where GED® testing will take place in the future, many of the current GED® testing centers will convert over time from paper and pencil testing (PBT) to computer-based testing. In some cases, a testing center might not be able to make that transition. In other cases, additional testing centers may be added to increase the availability of the test in a particular location or community. We are working with the jurisdictions to ensure the most appropriate approach to testing centers occurs, which is dependent on a number of factors that are unique to each jurisdiction.

The GED® Testing Service Panel



What I am curious about is the Testing Center. Will we use the same staff? Will one person be the chief examiner, scheduler and tester? It seems as if fewer people would be needed with the new test. Our students pay $50 for the battery now. Some increase would not be terrible, but a big increase would definitely lead to a decrease in graduates. Also, in New Mexico students receive a high school diploma when they complete the GED®. Would the first cut equal the high school diploma? I think so. Then does that diminish in some way the value of it?


Don Dutton

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Testing center staff will need to be determined by the testing center itself - beyond the minimum standard of one qualified test center administrator/proctor while tests are being administered.

On the issue of fees charged to the test-taker, GED® Testing Service will be working with each jurisdiction to help them determine the final CBT test-taker fees. Both we and jurisdictional policymakers are aware of the financial constraints of many of our adult learners and are committed to keeping the costs of testing as affordable as possible. States will need to think creatively about how to keep existing resources/subsidies that exist for paper-based testing in the system as we transition to CBT. This will also require new thinking in different pricing models that currently exist. For example, in the new computer-based testing pricing model there will be options for states to subsidize fees for some test-takers based on levels of need instead of having flat-rate pricing for everyone. (See also Costs Associated with the New Test transcript.)

At this point the jurisdictions will determine which performance level they will use to set the benchmark for awarding their state high school equivalency credential. Serious thought and consideration should be given to the implications of using one performance level over another. Our working assumption at this early stage is that most states will opt for the first performance level as the point at which high school equivalency credentials will be awarded, because this performance level will more closely resemble the skills and abilities of graduating high school standards. We continue to believe that the career- and college-ready endorsement performance level will be above that of the typical high school graduate - as it will take years for most states to be in a position to implement the common core state standards in high school classes. (See also Testing & Credentials transcript.)


The GED® Testing Service Panel

Wouldn't there be a new process for approval of test-sites? Would the same places that now handle testing, still do so, or, would the contract be with Pearson (or other) and their existing facilities? Would a current site need to apply with them to be able to conduct the new test/s? When and how will this be addressed?

Karin Ann Miller

GED® Testing Service Response:
The number of testing centers will be determined in consultation with individual jurisdictions. There will likely be targets for state coverage (e.g. distance a test-taker should have to travel in a suburban area to reach a testing center, etc.), as well as other considerations (e.g. converting PBT centers into CBT before turning on existing current Pearson VUE testing centers). This is another matter that will be addressed with the jurisdiction CBT implementation team, and your best contact at this point is your jurisdictional GED® Administrator.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Before we were fully aware of the fact that a new GED® assessment system and a newly configured GED® TS was imminent, many of us here in Texas had very serious concerns about the availability of testing centers and the affordability of the GED® test. Sadly, this week's discussion has only served to heighten these concerns, at least for this Texan. It strikes me as inevitable that there will be a major disruption in the GED® test delivery system as the requirement that GED® test centers meet official Pearson testing center standards rolls out. Perhaps this will be a bigger issue in geographically large states as Texas. Nevertheless, I believe it is safe to say that there will be fewer GED® testing centers than currently exist as the new GED® test delivery system rolls out over a period of several years, and this cannot be regarded as a good thing. One wonders what the incentive will be for existing test centers to undergo the Pearson transformation? Furthermore, it is hard to imagine that the new testing centers will be located in anything other than urban centers unless these centers can become revenue generators for community colleges and other entities in rural and suburban areas.

Jon Engel

Community Action Inc.

San Marcos, TX

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
As we move to computer-based testing the goal of the GED® Testing Service is to increase, not decrease, access. Therefore our intention is to work to have testing center coverage that is equal to or better than what is currently available in the paper-based administration system. One of the misconceptions about CBT centers is that they have to be large brick-and-mortar facilities. In fact, we are exploring a number of options that include mobile testing centers as well as small testing centers that might be open only on an as-needed basis with 2 or 3 computers (serving the same type of rural market that is currently served by addendum testing sites, for example). The work to introduce CBT during the 2002 Series administration is partly about getting all of these various types of testing centers up and running to (1) increase testing capacity as the end of the series draws near, and (2) to ease the transition to the new CBT environment which is so necessary for the administration of the next-generation test.

The GED® Testing Service Panel



Colleagues,

I hope that some of your concerned and wise postings about access to the GED® new version(s) or old, are also being heard by the right people at the GED® Testing Service. The number of GED® test-takers was already too low before, given the scale of the national need – a topic discussed by the National Commission on Adult Literacy -- and anything that will further reduce this essential service will be a disservice to programs and would-be students and test-takers at a most unfortunate time.

Gail Spangenberg


Rationale and Relationship between Partners

I have a difficult time understanding why resources and effort is going into creating an assessment to measure career and college readiness. There are already several assessments being used and accepted by higher education across the country (Compass and Accuplacer).

Why not create a partnership with one or more of the current college placement tests, to enter their score(s) from that assessment on their GED® certificate?

Gary Mills

Eastern Idaho Technical College

Idaho Falls, ID

GED® Testing Service Response:
The GED® test is being redeveloped as a consequence of the changes in national conversation about what it means to be a high school graduate. With upwards of two-thirds of future jobs requiring some sort of postsecondary credential or training, the GED® test can no longer simply measure that academic knowledge and skills that were the hallmark of high school education in the past. Instead, the test is being aligned with career- and college-readiness standards such as the Common Core State Standards (and other state standards) to provide test-takers, postsecondary institutions, and employers about the skills and competencies that test-takers have demonstrated that attest to their ability to succeed in careers and postsecondary programs. Part of the validity research supporting the next-generation GED® test will involve comparing scores attained on the new test with those attained on other tests such as Accuplacer and Compass. However, these placement tests were developed for different purposes and don't measure the broad range of skills that will be covered on the new GED® test.

The GED Testing Service Panel

Following onto Gary's question: is it the case that the GED® itself is part of a for-profit publishing/test creation/distribution entity? Are there other entities (aside from the EDP) that are available within the public domain? Is this something the field would want?

Janet Isserlis

GED® Testing Service Response:
The GED® Testing Service is a new joint venture of two different parent entities - the American Council on Education and Pearson. We are a separate entity from either ACE, Pearson, or Pearson VUE with our own board of directors (with equal representation from both parent organizations). The GED® test has always been part of a private enterprise rather than a governmental unit, and we at the GED® Testing Service believe that this new organizational structure and unique partnership will provide us with the considerable resources necessary to develop a new assessment system. The partnership between ACE, with its focus on preparing adults for higher education and careers, and Pearson VUE, with its expertise in test delivery, is a powerful combination of resources to help adults prepare for and demonstrate the higher level of skills and competencies that they will need to be successful in the future, globally competitive environment.

The GED® Testing Service Panel



Susan,

That is an interesting item you brought up. Are you saying Pearson is now in charge of regulating facility and equipment requirement and not GED® TS? Or are GED® TS and Pearson one and the same now?

Don Dutton

Yes, Pearson Vue is the new vendor of the computer-based testing when it rolls out. Their facility and IT requirements are part of existing testing sites becoming certified to offer computer based testing, and contracts and agreements will be with them as I understand.

Susan Hackney

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Testing centers that offer the GED® tests will need to be authorized Pearson VUE testing centers (discussed in previous posts).

The GED® Testing Service Panel

What is the difference between a PearsonVue site and select site?

Amanda Bevis

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
On the Pearson VUE website, there is a brief description of each kind of testing center which we have included below. It is important to note, however, that we are planning on using the Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center network set of testing centers, as we are focusing on test sited located in academic or education settings for computer-based GED® testing. This is also the type of center we anticipate paper-based centers who are transitioning/adding CBT to become in order to offer the CBT GED®. We will work closely with the GED® Administrators in each state to determine the right number and locations of test centers to optimize test-taker convenience and satisfaction.

Pearson VUE(r) Authorized Test Center:

The largest global test center network available with over 4,400 test centers in more than 160 countries. Prior to testing, Pearson VUE Authorized Test Centers must sign a pre-arranged agreement, meet hardware requirements and provide a certified test administrator. In addition to this, Pearson VUE performs on-going quality control measures to ensure program integrity.

Pearson Professional Centers:

Owned and operated by Pearson VUE, over 210 Pearson Professional Centers-located in all 50 of the United States, U.S. territories and more than 20 countries-are available for delivering high-stakes exams. The patented security design and registration procedures provide the highest levels of service, security and consistency.

Pearson VUE Test Centers:

Pearson VUE Test Centers, located throughout the United States, are quiet, secure, quality testing sites that provide an environment conducive to candidates having a positive and successful testing experience. This test center network was originally born out of a need to accommodate state regulatory agencies across the United States, as a natural service and outgrowth of the acquired Promissor business. Each of the test centers meet Pearson VUE's strict criteria for facilities, equipment, and minimization of distractions.

Pearson VUE(tm) Authorized Test Center Selects:

Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center Selects are independently-owned Pearson VUE Authorized Centers that have been carefully selected for their quality, service and amenities, and then upgraded with advanced biometrics and surveillance technology. Customers that place high value on the Pearson Professional.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Greetings,

I think it is helpful to know that GED is partnering with Pearson Vue who own the SAT and Accuplacer in order to give us some idea and direction. After reading the suggested materials, I saw Pearson mentioned and had already wondered what products they currently have that are in some sort of alignment. Although, our classes are in multi levels, we look towards these resources (downwards and then towards the goal or "upwards" in program planning, depending on initial level and how hard the assessment is).

In spending resources and effort in creating a Career Ready assessment, I feel that we can look at that which we've already accomplished and created and not be so overwhelmed or fearful.

It is a good point to talk about "expense." My students are saying they cannot afford the cost increase of the GED exam this year. Within our programs, we have learned to be creative but I am sure it will be difficult to align students to new resources with given financial resources. (See also Costs Associated with the New Test transcript.)

I would also like to know more about the essay, the suggested reading materials for this discussion don't discuss this much. (See also Essays and Extended Constructed Responses transcript.)

If anyone is interested in reading, I wrote much about assessment, career readiness and workforce along with a philosophical perspective in the attached document. It's great to be able to participate in such discussion. (Please contact the author directly for this resource at janowicz@maryu.marywood.edu.)

Thanks,

Ann Janowicz

Marywood University

Scranton, PA


Role of the Adult Education Community

I am not clear as to role of the current adult education community of service providers in preparing adult learners for the new GED® Test. Perhaps someone could comment on that aspect of this major change.

Susan Hackney

GED® Testing Service Response:
Just as in today's environment, adult education service providers will be an integral part of the preparation network needed to help more adults obtain the GED® test credential and to become career- and college-ready. Staff development of adult education professionals will be a critical part of ensuring that adult learners will be ready for rigor of the new test.

The GED® Testing Service is already working with a variety of programs and providers (including the U.S. Department of Education) to ensure that appropriate staff development materials supporting the new test content are available in 2013 prior to the launch of the new test.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

This is not a major change. Adult education service providers are the primary group that provides instruction for adults to prepare for the GED® exam. I hope that this is not a surprise to anyone at GED® TS?

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
We are absolutely aware of the great work adult educators do every day for adult learners all across the country. These folks are the backbone of the GED® preparation system, as around 46% of all GED® test-takers report to have participated in some adult education program before sitting for the test. Finding resources and strategies to provide teacher training will be essential for the success of preparing adults for the new assessment. This is another topic of continual conversation with OVAE.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Hi Martin,

If GED® TS is developing staff development materials supporting the new test content with various programs and providers, there must be some sort of rubrics or guidelines that have been created to guide that process. When will GED® TS release those guidelines/rubrics so that other providers and staff developers can begin developing our own materials in preparation for the new exams?

Thanks,

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

GED® Testing Service Response:
We will be sharing information on a regular basis to publishers and to the field. It will be essential to share information on the test framework and assessment targets as we move towards 2014, so that we allow time for teachers and publishers to create adequate materials. We have outlined the assessment development timeline overview in the PowerPoint link we provided in the discussion announcement email, and can also be found at: http://www.gedcbt.org/gedts/pdfs/cms-The-Next-Generation-Assessment-An-Overview(1).pdf.

We encourage you to sign up for the monthly e-newsletter (http://www.gedtest.org/thecommunity) for updated information. The rubrics by which the writing assessments will be evaluated are in development and will be released to the field in draft form in early 2012 to provide guidance in preparing adults for the new exam. We are also plan to develop an expanded web presence that will be dedicated to providing information on the new assessment system - including content information and guidance on how to prepare for the change in 2014. More detailed information on the new test and assessment system will be published on the web in the first and second quarters of 2012, and in mid-year 2012 we will be releasing an "Item Sampler," a publicly available web resource that will provide examples of all of the item types and selected content from the new test.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Although Mr. Kehe answered quite a few questions about the new GED® test, I still don't feel clear about the role of teachers and staff developers in helping to prepare students for the new GED® test. I am wondering:

  1. How can there be more input from GED® practitioners into the processes of developing the new test, developing the instructional materials, and discussing implementation? My colleague Mark Trushkowsky inquired about sharing guidelines for developing teaching materials for the new ED test with the adult ed community. When could that begin?
  2. A related question: I know that the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) consortium of states that has adopted the Common Core has begun to develop assessment items to be piloted. Can adult educators assume that items on the new GED® test will look similar to those now being piloted by PARCC states?
  3. What kind of funding will be available to help adult educators get up to speed in preparing their students for the new test? So far I have heard nothing about this at all. It seems that much money will be spend on computer based testing, but change will not happen in the classroom (and students' skills will not improve) unless there is investment in staff development.
  4. 4) Because the answer provided by Mr. Kehe have been so helpful, I was wondering how we could continue to get new information about the GED® Initiative. The ACE website has had some information, but I find that some of my colleagues in adult education have information that I have not been privy to. It seems important that information-sharing be equitable across the board.

Thanks,

Kate Brandt



GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Kate, I first need to thank Debi, Tracy and CT as they are equal contributors to these responses - so I can't take your compliment without acknowledging them. Now on to your questions, some of these we've answered in previous posts (e.g. timeline for sharing information to develop instructional materials, how to get updated information about the new assessment development, and conversation about teacher professional development), so we're going to address your question about the PARCC assessment.

While the PARCC assessment and the next-generation GED® test are both based on college- and career-ready content standards, the two assessment programs are designed with different purposes in mind. For example, the PARCC system is an assessment system designed to be implemented with students over their 12-year school education, and has strong school, school system, and teacher accountability elements embedded. The new GED® test is designed as an assessment for adults whose purpose is focused on measuring skills and competencies commensurate with the awarding of a high school equivalency credential and with readiness for successful performance in careers and/or postsecondary education.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Separating Ourselves from GED® Scams

Currently, the internet is swimming with sharks that prey on the adult learners who desperately need to find our adult education programs and testing centers. The fact that diploma mills and phoney GED® credentials and preparation services litter every Google search result and resulting key-word associated ads puts our credible programs at a severe disadvantage in terms of marketing and promotion. The implementation of computer based testing will likely bring an increased emphasis on computer based learning, and an exponential increase in online opportunists is likely.

Beyond the requirement of a trademarked logo and the official use policy, what will GED® TS/Pearson do to crack down on imposters and false advertising?

How will GED® TS/Pearson raise the profile of credible adult education services to help set us apart from the providers of dubious ethics?

Jason Guard

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
This is an issue that is very important to any of us who have heard the stories of fraud and disappointment from any test-takers who were misled. We are currently working with a legal team on ways we can systematically better enforce trademark protection of the GED® mark, and better protect (and inform) consumers who may be confused with all of the misleading content on the internet. We are working on a number of strategies and systems, including one where consumers can report alleged fraud on an internet form that we can then use in legal pursuits and to begin to better catalog these incidents and bring them before state attorney generals and federal authorities. We are also considering some unique internet strategies that might help consumers quickly sort legitimate prep and testing programs from those that may be dubious. That being said, our protection efforts are only as good as the work we do in our community on protecting the GED® trademark. Things in this category include using the registration mark (the circled "r") after the term GED® in printed materials and on all of our websites. Other information about how to use the GED® brand and marks in ways to strengthen the GED® mark can be found on our website at www.GED® test.org/style.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Testing & Credentials


(Includes comments on policy)

GED® Testing Service Response:
In recognizing that we at the GED® Testing Service need to provide more concrete information on skills to adult educators and test-takers as well as employers and postsecondary educators, we've embraced a new approach to developing our assessment system. But learning gains and testing, while critical, are not the only outcomes we are seeking for our adult learners. The majority of adult learners see these processes as transitional steps to job opportunities, post-secondary training, and college. Time is an important variable in the adult learner's process-the more we (collectively) can help learners with where they stand and what they need to tackle next, the better our chances are of creating successful transitions for more adult learners.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

What is the rationale for having different tests? What research supports the rationale?

Deb Williams

Sedalia, MO

Deb, can you clarify your question about "different tests?" How are you using that term?

Martin D. Kehe

GED® Testing Service

I might have miss understood. Will one test measure work skills, academics and high school satisfaction? Will students have to choose one type of test out of three?

Deb Williams

Sedalia, MO

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
There will be one assessment that will measure both high-school equivalency and the career and college ready endorsements/certifications. There may be additional components added to the four subject assessment after its launch in 2014 that may measure additional skills and knowledge beyond the four subject areas, but students will not have to choose between myriad tests. The confusion may have resulted from discussion of the plan to release other tests that may precede the new GED® assessment that will replace the 2002 Series. These assessments will include a diagnostic assessment that students will take to help them determine their most appropriate course of study to prepare for the GED® test and a readiness test (the replacement for the Official Practice Test) that will be a predictor of their performance on the new GED® test itself.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Hello, everybody---


I have approximately nine hundred questions about this whole thing, but for now here are two:

  1. Is it correct to infer that under the new Assessment System there will be two "credentials" issued (or "diplomas," or "certificates," or whatever)---one, similar to today's GED® Credential, that will certify high-school equivalency; and another, earned somewhere further along the continuum, that will certify college and career readiness?
  2. The earning of which of these Credentials (Or is it both or neither?) would prompt the statement which in the present vernacular is "I got my GED®"?


Tom Mechem

GED® State Chief Examiner

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

GED® Testing Service Response:
The next-generation test will be constructed with two different cut points for each of the four content area exams (literacy [language arts reading and writing], mathematics, science, and social studies). In simplest terms, test takers achieving at least the first cut score on each of the four content area tests would achieve enough scale score points to earn the high school equivalency credential. Test-takers scoring at or above the second-level cut score would receive an “endorsement” to their credential for each individual content area test for which they achieved that higher score. For example, a test–taker might receive their high-school equivalency credential and then an additional endorsement for their performance in mathematics and science, and another test-taker might receive the endorsement in language arts and writing only. (By the way, the current 2002 test, as you know, involves a compensatory model in which a lower score in one content area can by off-set by a higher score in another area, as long as a certain minimum score is set. We will likely have a similar system for the next-generation test, though the details of the score scale won't be worked out until 2013.)

Earning of a high school equivalency credential would be analogous to what people today refer to as “getting a GED®” (test credential). The endorsements above and beyond that credential would provide information to test-takers, schools, and employers about the higher level of skill that individuals might demonstrate.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Hi, Marty---


Thank you very much for these detailed responses. They are very informative and most helpful (and I might add, hopeful). But: here are two more of my nine hundred questions.

  1. Is it correct to infer that an Examinee could take the new GED® Assessment, earn just the minimum score necessary to certify high-school equivalency but no "endorsement" for college and career readiness in any subject, do further preparation (at an ABE program, a bridge-to-college program, online at home, or whatever), and then come back at a later date and take the same Assessment but with the opportunity this time to get higher scores and possibly earn those college-and-career-readiness "endorsements"? (Or is it strictly a one-shot deal?) (or would she take a different Assessment entirely?)
  2. Could a person whose skills are not yet at the GED® level go to an official GED® test center but, instead of taking the GED® Assessment, take instead the Diagnostic Pre-Assessment, do further study based on the results, come back at a later date and take the Diagnostic Post-Assessment, and, if the results warranted it, go on to the GED® Readiness Assessment and eventually the real GED® test?


Thanks a lot.


Tom Mechem

GED® State Chief Examiner

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
In reference to your first question, at this point we envision that your sample test-taker would indeed come back to retake the assessment - or the subject areas of the assessment that she desired to seek an endorsement in - in order to achieve the higher performance level/score.

On your second question, you do indeed have the sequence of events in the correct order. The diagnostic pre-assessment will be designed to give detailed feedback to the learner to help him or her (and/or an instructor) determine what study plan best suits the learner's needs. After completing some type of learning program, the post-assessment would provide information on learning gains and whether the learner is ready to move on to taking the readiness test to determine his or her likely performance on the next-generation GED® test. The next step in the process would be to take the actual GED® test, but a learner could take that exam multiple times to achieve the highest possible score (e.g., striving not only for a high school equivalency credential but for career- and college-ready endorsements.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

I like these questions from Tom. What would be the cost for these various steps? Will a diagnostic pre or post-assessment cost the same as an actual assessment, or a readiness one? Or, is a 'readiness' and 'post' considered the same? Will the costs for those initial measures be factored in to lower (offset) the cost of the actual assessment, so students will be more likely to take the other types of assessments at the test locations? Will there be limits to how many of each type of assessment a person can take? Also, if they take it in Spanish initially and then improve their English, can they then repeat the assessment in English for a ‘newer' credential? Or, if they feel they can score higher? (See also Costs Associated with the New Test transcript.)

Karin Ann Miller

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Determining pricing for these assessments will take time to develop-those assessments are now in the development phase. There are a multitude of operational questions still to be determined for the new assessment system. The same answer applies to the question about different language versions. There are a number of policy questions that will need answers and extensive conversations about such policies will need to be held with various stakeholders. The issues identified in your question, however, are indeed the subject of our current policy discussions. (See also Operational Questions about the New Test transcript.)

The GED® Testing Service Panel

Good questions and I would like to add to this strand. Could you add, if the questions are policy decided at the national level or left to the jurisdictions (States)? I.e. High School diplomas, staffing.

Jeff McNeal M.Ed.

Education and Training Connection

GED® Testing Service Response:
There are a number of policy decisions that will need to be made at all levels in order to make such a fundamental shift to adult education and GED® testing systems. Many of these discussions have begun in several states, as we've outlined the vision for the new Initiative and new assessment system at several levels of federal and state government. We encourage each of you to find the best mechanism to be involved in the policy discussions on these topics that are happening or about to happen in your state.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

 

Martin, Debi, Tracy and CT,

In response to Tom Mechem, you wrote:

In reference to your first question, at this point we envision that your sample test-taker would indeed come back to retake the assessment – or the subject areas of the assessment that she desired to seek and endorsement in – in order to achieve reach the higher performance level/score.

On your second question, you do indeed have the sequence of events in the correct order. The diagnostic pre-assessment will be designed to give detailed feedback to the learner to help him or her (and/or an instructor) determine what study plan best suits the learner's needs. After completing some type of learning program, the post-assessment would provide information on learning gains and whether the learner is ready to move on to taking the readiness test to determine his or her likely performance on the next-generation GED® test. The next step in the process would be to take the actual GED® test, but a learner could take that exam multiple times to achieve the highest possible score (e.g., striving not only for a high school equivalency credential but for career- and college-ready endorsements.

I work with the GED® programs at the City University of New York. As it is now, when a student passes their GED®, they can apply and be accepted to the CUNY community colleges (or potentially to one of the senior colleges if their GED® scores are high enough). Once accepted, they take placement exams in reading, writing, pre-algebra and algebra. Most GED® graduates fail at least one of those exams, due to the huge divide between what is assessed on the GED® and what is assessed on the ACT/COMPASS exams. I understand that part of the goals of the new GED® is to bridge that divide. CUNY has recognized this, as I know others have, and has developed bridge programs (like CUNY Start) to help transition GED® and high school students with remedial needs into credit-bearing courses. So here are my questions:

1) If I passed the high school equivalency threshold of the new GED®, what would be my incentive to retake the test and try for the higher endorsement if my goal was going to college? I could see why a student might want to do that if you were trying to enter the workforce. But say I earn my high school equivalency credential, why wouldn't I just apply to a college and take whatever placement exams required by that school?

2) What relationship do you envision between the new GED® higher threshold for college and career readiness and already existing college placement exams like the ACT/COMPASS exams?

3) Is the idea that a high school equivalency credential would at some point no longer be sufficient to be accepted by community colleges?

4) I know plenty of students take the GED® without taking GED® classes, but in terms of the ones that do go to programs and providers, I wonder how this practice of re-testing would affect pass rates. I don't know if this is the case in all states, but in New York it is my understanding that the denominator in figuring out the GED® pass rates is each test that is taken, not each person - in other words, if you have 40 students who take the GED® and all earn a high school equivalency credential, but each needs to take the test twice in order to pass, then your GED® pass rate would be 50% (even though 100% of your students passed the GED®). Any thoughts on how the two different credentials could work in terms of pass rates?

Thanks,

Mark Trushkowsky

CUNY Adult Literacy and GED® Program

New York, NY

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
Mark, what a great set of insightful questions. We do believe that there are gaps in what the GED® tests and some other college placements exams measure - and we also are not convinced that these exams are always the best predictor of readiness for credit-bearing classes. There have been a few focused studies in states comparing GED® graduates with equal scores who go on to college - half into credit bearing classes and half placed in remedial coursed due to a placement score. One of those studies in particular showed those students who went right into credit-bearing courses earned a passing grade. It is our plan to demonstrate that the career and college ready endorsements prepare students to immediately be ready for credit-bearing classes. If this is the case, colleges may accept the endorsements as proof of readiness and allow test-takers to enroll in credit-bearing classes - saving them from using precious financial aid resources on remedial courses.

At the same time, we have been having conversations, and exploring the possible connections between the new assessment and other available certification assessments in the marketplace.

You pose an interesting question about the pass rate. Several of the benchmarks and ways we measure success with the current GED® test will have to be reconsidered as the new assessment system closer to launch.

The GED® Testing Service Panel

As the GED® TS response below clearly indicates, multiple assessment opportunities seem to be a cornerstone of the new assessment system. The scenario below recommends that a student take at least three GED® tests before earning a GED® certification at the high school exit or college and career readiness level and potentially several more than three. It's all very logical, but the great majority of GED® students already have a great difficulty paying for the GED® test one time. I can't prove it, but I would venture to say that GED® students would tell us that the cost of the GED® test is the biggest barrier to GED® attainment. I understand that the opportunity for multiple testing makes for a strong revenue-generating business model, but I do not understand where GED® TS thinks the money is going to come from. (Squeezing water from stones comes to mind.)

On your second question, you do indeed have the sequence of events in the correct order. The diagnostic pre-assessment will be designed to give detailed feedback to the learner to help him or her (and/or an instructor) determine what study plan best suits the learner's needs. After completing some type of learning program, the post-assessment would provide information on learning gains and whether the learner is ready to move on to taking the readiness test to determine his or her likely performance on the next-generation GED® test. The next step in the process would be to take the actual GED® test, but a learner could take that exam multiple times to achieve the highest possible score (e.g., striving not only for a high school equivalency credential but for career and college-ready endorsements.

Finally, the pre and post assessments described above seem to serve more or less the same functions as the OVAE approved pre-and post-assessments utilized in the National Reporting System. That seems duplicative to me. Perhaps the thought is that these pre and post assessments would also become OVAE approved for use in the National Reporting System. I don't know if that is the case, but, if so, then at least adult education programs would have an incentive to cover these costs and take them off the back of the already cash strapped GED® student.

Jon Engel

Community Action Inc.

San Marcos, TX

GED® TESTING SERVICE RESPONSE:
You are correct in seeing that one of the goals of the diagnostic assessments is to have them approved as measures under NRS. The addition of other diagnostic assessment to the list of approved NRS assessments would provide yet another choice for service providers to support the adult learner. We believe that adult learners will benefit from participating in a system in which there are multiple assessments that are all aligned with career and college-ready expectations but which are able to provide measurements at a wide range of academic proficiency levels - matching the wide range of skills that our adult learners possess when they first begin working towards obtaining the GED® test credential.


The GED® Testing Service Panel

Finally, I would like to thank Marty, CT, and the other GED® TS team members for their participation this week. I feel certain that I have achieved pain in the neck status in their minds by now. Please know I only do so because I think the GED® is an important thing in this nation, and changing it is very much a high stakes deal on many levels. Rascals such as I are just trying ensure accountability in this very important process.

Jon Engel

Community Action Inc.

San Marcos, TX


Vetting of Curricular Materials

I noticed that the curricular materials for the new GED® will be required to be "vetted" by ACE/Pearson. I was wondering what would be the process for "vetting" materials. Would only commercially produced curricula be "vetted"? This would add to the costs mentioned by Jeffrey Seth in connection with the new GED® initiative (See also Costs Associated with the New Test transcript). Also, I've often found that teacher-produced curricula and instructional materials are often superior to commercially produced materials.

Kate Brandt

City University of New York

GED® Testing Service Response:
All materials supporting the GED® testing program will not be required to be "vetted," though there may be advantages in doing so. Today, consumers-educators and test-takers-face a dizzying array of materials and no way to discern which ones might be appropriate to their situation or even aligned to the content of the GED® test. Producers of quality materials that have received the "seal of approval" will be able to stand out and provide test-takers with the confidence that they are using materials that are supportive of the learning goals embodied in the new test. We are in the early planning stages of developing a virtual GED® test preparation "marketplace" where instructional materials, software, mobile applications, etc. could be made more readily available to instructors and adults. Our goal for the marketplace is to help reduce much of the confusion caused by misleading information about GED® testing posted on the internet by fraudulent programs.

The GED® Testing Service Panel


Closing Remarks and Staying Involved

This morning marked the end of our assessment listserv discussion, but only the beginning of our conversations with you and other key stakeholders. The panel and everyone here at GED® Testing Service would like to thank you for your participation. The quality of questions and the insightful comments - as well as the passion many of you expressed - all demonstrate the supportive community that exists to help adults succeed. Indeed the task is large, and much is at stake. We are raising the bar for ourselves here at GED® Testing Service because we believe that is what is needed. And it is what adults want - a more connected system that gives them the opportunity for a real second chance. We are currently only reaching 800,000 adults per year, while there are 39 million out there who could benefit from earning high school credentials. In fact, nearly 1.5 million young adults drop out and join the ranks of those without credentials every year. We are challenging ourselves and others to reach even more adults than we are reaching now. Yes, it will require creative thinking, new and different use of resources; and new types of partnerships and investments across governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector. We are just beginning those conversations and working towards developing our contribution to the equation. In the months ahead, we will strive to gain as much input, insight and expert opinions as possible to inform the program's development. We encourage you to stay informed and involved.

Further down in this message, we have included some ways to stay informed and involved, as well as a brief overview of the groups that have been working with us to date on the new assessment development.

Thank you again for your questions and comments, and we look forward to our continued work together,

The GED® Testing Service Panel (Marty Kehe, CT Turner, Tracy Gardner and Debi Faucette)

Ways to stay involved and informed:

  • Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, The Community, which has the most up-to-date information on the current and new testing program. This is where you'll be notified when new information is available. To sign up: http://www.GEDtest.org/TheCommunity.
  • For information about computer-based testing (CBT), view our microsite where you will find information on a range of topics, from research to FAQs. It also has a new feature, Educational and Planning WebEx Courses, that will be valuable to anyone wanting more detailed information on CBT, and additional topics are in development. These courses have much more information than we could provide on a listserv. The microsite URL is: http://www.GEDcbt.org. The Education and Planning courses can be found on the "EDU Courses" tab.
  • Watch the http://www.GEDtestingservice.com website and The Community newsletter for our planned expanded web presence and new combined website for GED® Testing Service. We anticipate this becoming a robust site for complete information about the new assessment system.
  • Finally, watch for information and conversations happening in your state. Good resources for these conversations will be your state GED® Administrator and your state adult education director.

Information on advisors involved in the new assessment system development: Three categories of groups have been involved to date: Advisors on Assessment Targets, Advisory Groups (three), and Stakeholder Committees:

  • Advisors on Assessment Targets - Expert panels are convening on Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies in 2011. Consultants to those groups include: Cyndie Schmeiser, ACT (retired), David Coleman (Achievement Partners [AP]), Jason Zimba (A.P.), Sue Pimentel (A.P.), Christine Tell (Achieve), JoAnne Eresh (Achieve) and Kaye Forgione (Achieve).
  • Advisory Groups include: Advisory Board on Career and College Readiness - Goal is to Define CCR for our population and determine desired components for GED® test credential(s);Policy Board - Goal is to inform policy decisions on assessment design; Technical Advisory Committee - Goal is to provide technical support on measurement and psychometric issues
  • Stakeholder Committees are slated to assist on Assessment Target Review (July for Literacy and Mathematics, November for Science and Social Studies); ongoing passage, fairness and content review panels; and standard-setting panels (advising on preliminary cut-score ranges [2013], Final cut-scores [2014], and standards validation [2015]). We will also be building mechanisms to involve other stakeholder communities throughout the development process.

End transcript