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New year brings changes to GED testing requirements

Staff Writer

As of today, those who wish to get a GED will find they need to know more about math and business.

A new General Education Development test, which will include more workplace skills, will be used beginning this year, replacing the one that has been in use since 1998.

Perhaps what is of significance to Pike County residents is that, if they have taken and passed only parts of the test, they will lose these previous scores.

Prior to the change going into effect, a learner only had to retake the part that he or she had not passed. If a learner had not achieved the necessary scores in all subject areas to pass the current tests, the individual had to take all parts of the new series next year.

The new series will continue to reflect the major and lasting outcomes of a four-year high school program of study in the core subjects of writing, literature and the arts, science, social studies and mathematics.

In addition to algebra and geometry, the new series includes questions on data analysis, statistics and probability.

The new test will also include emphasis on business communications and essay organization, more history and government questions and less behavioral science, use of a calculator in one of the math sections, more topics on health and the environment.

Regardless of test series, adult Alabamians who have not earned a high school diploma will still have the opportunity to earn a certificate of high school equivalency and join several of the rich and famous. According to the American Council on Education’s website, GED graduates include: comedian Bill Cosby, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, Delaware’s Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado.

GED classes are available to any Pike County resident who is at least 16 years old and not enrolled or required to be enrolled in high school and more adults are taking advantage of the opportunity by working to earn their GEDs.

In this day and age, the importance of a high school education is being realized more and more.

Those who dropped out of high school are finding it more difficult to get or stay in a job because of stricter requirements for a high school diploma.

In Pike County, about 29 percent of the population is at a Literacy Level I, which means it is difficult for them to handle everyday reading, writing and math skills.

About 16 percent of Pike County residents have less than a ninth grade education. Another 19 percent went to high school, but never got a diploma.

Since there has been a national move to a information-based society and skilled labor force, many employers are insisting employees have a high school diploma or GED .

It is because of such changes more people have chosen to put their noses back in the books and earn their high school equivalency certificate.

During 1999-2000, there were 94 individuals who were enrolled in GED classes in Pike County and 14 of those passed the test.

Those who assist students taking the test say the GED is not as easy as people might believe.

What many might not know is the GED tests individuals at what would be the top two-thirds of the traditional high school senior class.

Actually, more than 95 percent of employers in the United States consider GED graduates the same as traditional high school graduates when it comes to hiring, salary and advancement opportunities.

For information about the GED classes, individuals can call the Troy/Pike Adult Basic Education Program office at the Alternative Learning Center at 566-6638 or 566-4351. Classes are offered in Troy and Brundidge.