ALPENA - Starting Jan. 1, 2014, GED tests once again will be revised to meet new common core standards. As a result of the coming test changes, all current test scores will expire, affecting students who have not successfully completed all of the testing areas for a valid diploma.
However, the adult education programs in Alpena are prepared to accommodate the community members who are working toward completing GED requirements. Jake Stenz, adult education coordinator, said modifications are being made, but the biggest anticipated shift is the higher standards for GED testing, which will become completely computer based.
"This doesn't mean you can get your GED online, you still need to take the test at a certified site," he said. "Starting Jan. 1, 2014, the tests will be a lot harder, meeting the common core standards. I strongly urge anyone who has started, or is close to finishing, to come in and finish, tests will not count after."
According to Stenz, the last time GED testing was "revamped" was in 2002, but this round of changes will be more prevalent.
"Right now there are a total of five tests, reading, science, social studies, math, and writing. The new GED testing will have four tests, reasoning through language arts, math, science, and social studies," he said. "Currently, the tests are done on paper with a pencil in bubble sheets, but the new version will be computer based."
The new test will be administered January 2014, at official testing centers in ACES Academy, Rogers City library and courthouse, and at Lincoln's and Atlanta's Michigan Works buildings. As soon as the new testing begins, past scores will not carry forward.
"A lot of people think they can go online and get their GED, but it is not possible. You have to test in a certified testing center, otherwise it means nothing," he said. "GED is trademarked and is considered a high school diplomacy. It's revamped to reflect what's happening in high school."
Stenz said the new GED tests will be filled with complex content based on the common core state standards to meet high school equivalency, along with other benchmarks representing college readiness.
"We're trying to get people in and through, especially people who have already started. Get in and finish before you lose the tests you've already taken," he said. "The GED will get you into Alpena Community College, but without a GED or high school diploma, you are not eligible for any federal financial aid, grants, or loans."
Alpena's adult education program offers high school completion and adult education courses, and GED testing. Classes are held three days per week in Alpena, with four-hour open entry and exit classes in a learning lab environment. GED testing occurs every Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at ACES. For more information on classes, programs, and GED testing call the ACES front desk at 358-5170 or Jake Stenz at 358-5180.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.