Thousands who failed the GED exam could retroactively receive their diplomas in a couple of months because the score required to pass the test will soon be lowered.
ATLANTA — Thousands who failed the GED exam could retroactively receive their diplomas in a couple of months because the score required to pass the test will soon be lowered.
The drop — from 150 to 145 to pass, expected to start in March — is being made because studies showed GED students in some states were performing better in college than high-school graduates, according to the national company that administers the high-school equivalency test. For example, some students earning GEDs need less remediation after enrolling in college, the test administrators say.
The GED Testing Service is not changing any of the material in the test itself, just lowering the score it takes to pass. Company officials say the requirements for GED test takers and high-school students should be the same, but right now GED test takers are working to a higher level to earn their passing score.
“If high-school performance starts to improve, we can adjust our cut scores as well, but we want to make sure we are holding adults to the same standards” as those required for traditional high-school students, said Randy Trask, GED Testing Service’s president.
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The final timetable for the scoring changes was still being worked out this week.
The scoring change comes two years after the national testing company rolled out a more rigorous exam, aligned to national standards such as Common Core, that led to fewer people taking the test and fewer passing it. In Georgia, 60 percent of test takers passed the old test. That dropped to 54 percent in 2014 with the tougher one.
The issue came up this week when a Georgia state lawmaker asked technical-college-system director Gretchen Corbin how the state was rebounding from the decline in passing rates. Corbin hinted at the new GED scoring changes, noting there would be efforts to bring the GED requirements in line with high-school requirements.
The testing company says the scoring changes are not a way to boost the numbers of those who pass.
“We want to have our test actually anchored to actual performance … ,” Trask said.