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New GED Program Goes Into Effect in 2014

By Evelina Burnett | Published 11 Dec 2013 09:50pm | comments

The GED high school equivalency exam is getting a re-vamp in 2014, and that’s led to a rush at Mississippi testing centers.

As MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, if students haven’t passed all five sections of the current G-E-D exam by the end of the year, they will have to start from scratch.

Una Smith has passed four of the five sections required to earn a GED over the past year. Math has tripped her up, though, and she’s at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, studying, before giving it one more -- hopefully successful -- shot on Dec. 17.

"I want to finish before this January because if not I will have to re-take everything next year," she says. "So I'm hoping I'll get it done this time."

Many students in Mississippi and the nation have found themselves in this same predicament, trying to pass any sections they haven’t completed before the new GED test goes into effect in 2014.

Many places, like here at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, don’t have any testing spots left this year.

The GED is revamped like this about every decade, and MGCCC GED instructor Teddy Wilson says the new test, which is aligned with national Common Core standards, won’t be more difficult than the current test, but it will be more rigorous.

"People are going have to think more about it, and it's going to be a deeper level of knowledge that they have to have to take the test," he says. 

The new test is also more expensive - $120 compared to $75 now. Becky Layton, the college’s director of adult basic education, says that could make it harder for some students to afford the test which could in turn affect enrollment.  

"Right now, students are able to pretty much push through it and get it done," she says. "I think the cost is going to slow them down as far as getting it done as quickly as they normally do. The pilot programs say the students are passing the test, but until we see the actual numbers, we're in a holding pattern right now."

The new test will also be offered only on the computer, part of an emphasis on digital literacy.

Just over 12,500 Mississippians took the GED test last year. Around 7,500 Mississippians earned a GED in 2012.

Mississippi's passing rate is 55%. That's compared to a national average around 70%. The GED Testing Service says that they've found that people who take the test online seem to score higher. A spokesman said 300 people in Mississippi have taken the test online this year, and their passing rate was 79%.

For more information on the new GED program, visit




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