GED 2014: A Game Changer?

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The face of adult education is evolving with the Common Core Standards driving intense curriculum changes and computer based testing challenging the traditional delivery methods of the GED Test. Beyond the GED Test, McGraw Hill is developing an alternative test called the TASC and Educational Testing Services is introducing the HiSet exam. There are many other exam initiatives being bounced around too so those are probably not the only names you will hear locally and nationally as we move closer to January 2014. The new testing options and CBT delivery are game changers in the field of adult education.

“On January 2, 2014, GED Testing Service will unveil a new assessment in all jurisdictions (except Canada) that ensures the GED® testing program is no longer an endpoint for adults, but a springboard for more education, training, and better-paying jobs. The new assessment will continue to provide adults the opportunity to earn a high school credential, but it goes further by measuring career- and college-readiness skills that are the focus of today’s curriculum and tomorrow’s success.” ~ from GED® Testing Service

This new series will reflect the academic modifications needed to keep the test current and will integrate the broad technological advancements and uses of technology in today’s society. As in series past, educators and testers will not only note the standard academic changes in content, but will also experience a change in the format. A computer based delivery format will be fully integrated into the GED® Test. In 2014, all testers sitting for the GED® Test will take the test on a computer at an official GED® Test center. Beyond that, the other players in the high school equivalency test arena are introducing computer-based testing but at a bit slower rate. HiSet will be doing paper/pencil in 2014 as will McGraw Hill. However,  both HiSet and McGraw Hill have plans to introduce CBT to their testing arsenal over the next few years. Computer based testing is not going away – it may be delayed for some, but it is an inevitability.

For Adult Education programs across the nation, this means two things. One, students must be prepared with the background knowledge and skills needed to answer test questions correctly. Two, students must be equipped with the necessary computer skills to comfortably and successfully navigate the computer based testing format. In the video, the GED Testing Service® assures GED® candidates that they will need only “basic computer skills”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JFQ-UmvLahk

What are basic computer skills? Which ones will students need to be familiar with while taking the test on computer?  The GED Testing Service® website gives these examples for testers and educators to get a feel for the kinds of computer familiarity and skills needed to navigate the test on computer.

GED®Test Tutorial http://www.gedtestingservice.com/GEDTS%20Tutorial.html

2014 GED® Item Sampler http://www.gedtestingservice.com/educators/itemsampler

i-Pathways, in its origins and development, has been and continues to be a leader in providing an internet accessed, computer-based high school equivalency preparation program. Many of the i-Pathways lessons and activities correspond directly and secondarily to the computer literacy skills that will be needed for the CBT, no matter what the testing product is that a program or state opts to use.

Explore the Units and lessons listed as examples of how i-Pathways prepares students for CBT.  This is an i-Pathways Program User created document.  Thanks to Doreen Balzarini and Cindy Lock, of Illinois Valley Community College for creating this document. See the link to the Excel Spreadsheet entitled, i-Pathways Computer Skills and CBT:

http://www.i-pathways.org/info/docs/iPathwaysComputerSkillsandCBT.xlsx

NOTE: Adult educators should not confuse a student’s digital device technology proficiency with basic computer literacy. They are not the same.

In 2011, the majority of GED® test candidates were 16-30 years of age. While 96% of students in that age bracket have a smart phone, 70% have a laptop computer and even fewer 55% have a desktop computer. Something else to note, Home usage of the PC is down 20% since 2008, according to the chart from a Morgan Stanley report examining the burgeoning tablet market.

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What has changed in the last few years? The growth of the smartphones and tablets, says Morgan Stanley. As people use smartphones for more simple computing tasks like web surfing, they use traditional PCs less.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-pc-usage-2011-2#ixzz2K2mEKHAD

Undoubtedly, many changes will need to take place in the classroom. Clearly, for many students preparation will be key to successfully completing the computer based testing. Familiarity with technology in the form of a computer and mastery of certain computer skills will be an important part of each tester’s classroom experience.

So how will programs go about choosing curricula that is relevant to the new GED® Test content, and, at the same time, incorporating the kind of computer literacy skills that will be needed for the computer-based testing now and in the future? Implementation or continued use of i-Pathways as a supplement into your traditional GED® classroom or providing it as a distance learning program is a great choice that seamlessly addresses all three of these areas.  The i-Pathways team is ready to help you get ready for the future of adult education no matter what high school equivalency exam you use.

Check out this blog entry to see more info about how we align to the Common Core Standards and more.

http://ipathways.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/2014-assessment-and-beyond-i-pathways-is-prepared/

Contact Crystal Hack, i-Pathways Project Director, at chack@cait.org for more details on how to become an i-Pathways user at your program. 

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