The clock is ticking for some 13,000 Coloradans who have yet to complete the five sections of their GED high-school equivalency exam. The test is set to expire at the end of the year.
“We want to be sure everyone is aware of this deadline,” said Rebecca Holmes at the Colorado Department of Education in a release Tuesday. “GED test-takers must act now.”
The current version of the test expires December 31.
People from all walks of life take the General Equivalency Diploma or GED. The test is a gateway to better jobs and further education and has been for seven decades for the roughly 40 million americans who don’t have a high school diploma. In Colorado, that’s 400,000 people. In 2011, more than 14,000 Coloradans took and passed the GED.
“Thousands take it every year,” said Strider Swope, a GED testing coordinator at Pueblo Community College. “We have a lot of people take because they need to get into college but if you don’t have your high school diploma or GEd you can’t receive financial aid. That, and pretty much all employers now require high school equivalency.”
“The GED is a foundation program,” said Colorado Department of Corrections Spokesman Roger Hudson, adding that in facilities across the state it helps inmates move on to college-level work and lowers recidivism rates once they are released.
Both Swope and Hudson’s operations, like those across Colorado, are in the midst of transitioning to the 2014 all-digital version of the test. The same length as the 2002 GED, the updated version rolls the reading section into the test, dropping the number of subject areas from five to four, and includes scoring distinctions for career and college readiness.
Swope said he is highly optimistic about the shift, which allows his testing center to move from once weekly tests to a six-days a week schedule.
“People that are taking [the digital version] tend to be passing it at a much higher rate,” Swope added. “It’s not easier, it’s the same content, but I think they’re more comfortable with the format.”
Hudson agreed that the new format is a good thing and said Colorado’s Correctional facilities are on board with digitization.
“We’re making that next leap,” he said. “The new version is probably a better way to track and make sure everyone is taking the exact same test and that it’s being monitored in the same way. So we’re jumping in and outfitting our facilities with the equipment and the trained facilitators.”
For those who’ve already completed some, but not all, of the current GED, Swope emphasized that it’s important to finish before the next test rolls out.
“If they wait, they’ll have to completely start over and pay again,” he said.
Taking the GED isn’t cheap, at $150, but four “amnesty days” at Denver Human Services East will give testers a chance to take the test for free.
Just get out and take the test, Hudson says. The benefits are innumerable.
“Education is the foundation for everything, of all positive change,” he said.
Note: The amnesty days will be held at Denver Human Services East, 3815 Steele St. The dates:
[ Image of testakers by Rachel]