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What's new in the GED?

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Question:
Dear Guidance Counselor,

I work with high school drop outs (young adults) in a special job program. Some of these people want to take the GED and I want to help them in their goals. I heard some changes are coming in the GED? What are these changes? Will my group members be able to take the GED online?

Sincerely, Rafael

Answer:
Dear Rafael,

What great work you are doing to inspire, train, and uplift people who want to make a difference in their lives. Research does indeed show that getting a GED (high school diploma equivalency) makes a significant difference in options for jobs, readiness for college, and general earnings level. Getting a GED is almost always a good idea for the person who is ready to make the commitment.

Currently the GED tests are five subject areas-- writing, reading, math, science, and social studies. A student takes the tests in an official testing site and it is very important that he or she prepare properly. Students prepare for the GED tests through local classes in community college or adult education centers, online preparatory classes or practice books. Please make sure that your students understand how critical it is to study these subject areas for the test.

You cannot currently take the GED online. Any website or company promising that you can is perpetrating a scam. The way to find the official testing center in your area is simply to go the American Council on Education website, which is "one stop shopping" for information about the GED. Here you will find suggestions on preparing, places to take the test and much more.

I suspect that even the new GED will not be available online as the Council wants to retain oversight of the testing process.

Future trends in the GED

People who are working on the new GED tests say that they will cover four subject areas-- literacy, math, science, and social studies. Supposedly there is a change in philosophy--while the GED will still provide a high school equivalency degree, the creators conceptualize it as more than the old GED. The tests will include diagnostic tools to help pinpoint ways that the student can achieve more success in jobs and school. In other words, according to the creators, the new GED will be more of a "springboard" to the future.

We live in a time when the economy is changing rapidly; old types of jobs falling away while new ones are created. Workers must have up-to-date skills and education. A high school drop out is at a great disadvantage in the workplace. The new GED credential can help more people than ever before to have a new chance to move forward in their careers. For instance, they can choose to go to a community college and get an associate degree in a field with high demand such as medical technician.

I commend you for helping these young adults in need of guidance.