US States To The GED: Thanks But No Thanks

Now that the nonprofit service that administers the high school equivalency exam has partnered with for-profit Pearson Vue Testing to create a pricier computer-only test, 40 states are looking for alternatives.

What's the Latest Development?

The recent partnership between the GED Testing Service and Pearson Vue Testing has resulted in changes to the high school equivalency exam that are causing 40 states to consider alternatives. Although a computerized version of the test was rolled out last year, some states still offered the paper-based option. Starting next year, that option will no longer be available. Also, the cost of taking the test has doubled to $120, which has already driven several states, including New York, Montana and New Hampshire, to abandon the GED and examine other choices.

What's the Big Idea?

For over 70 years, the GED was the primary means by which students who didn't graduate high school completed their secondary education, and the GED Testing Service was a nonprofit organization. However, according to New York official Merryl H. Tisch, "[A] Pearson GED monopoly would put our students at the mercy of Pearson’s pricing...We can’t let price deny anyone the opportunity for success." For their part, the GED Testing Service says that with the computerized version, test-takers score higher and finish faster. Meanwhile, the Educational Testing Service plans to offer a GED alternative later this year: The HiSET will come in paper- and computer-based versions and the cost for both will be $50.

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