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The company selling the most commonly used GED test, has decided to lower what it considers a passing score, after changing to a new test that some considered to be “too hard”. This is a follow up to recent post here discussing how states were now offering alternative testing to the GED.

“Our recommendation is for each state to strongly consider making these changes retroactive,” says CT Turner, a spokesman for the GED Testing Service. He adds that the changes aren’t an admission that the test is too difficult, but a response to new information.


“We’ve gotten hard data back from a number of states showing that GED grads are not just performing on par, but better than high school graduates when it comes to college,” Turner says. A passing score of 145, he says, puts GED holders more in line with a typical high school graduate.


In addition to the new lower cutoff score, the GED will have tiered pass rates for the first time. A score of 165-174 certifies readiness for college-level work without remediation. And a score above 175, earned by about 1 in 10 test takers, could make students eligible for up to 10 hours of college credit through ACE’s Credit Recommendation Service.


This appears to say that the typical high school graduate’s score of 145 is 20-30 points lower than what constitutes being ready for college without remediation. Is that truly the standard of learning achievement  which is considered acceptable for HS grads, and GED earners? And what does it say about what we expect our HS system in US to produce for the workforce?

Perhaps this concern about what is an appropriate standard is part of the larger question of accreditation and gatekeepers and who is going to decide what is an employable person, and based on what tests or learning achievements, as we transition to an information / knowledge economy.

One possible future would involve much more DIY education and learning, both in and out of the workplace/ workforce, and determination of desirable employees through online portfolios of aggregated learning achievement. Rather than the blunt tools of HS diplomas and GED tests we presently have, we might end up with much more subtle and adaptable “measuring sticks” that qualify one for employment and/or further education.

IOW, the mass production form of education and learning and workforce development might give way to something that efficiently accounts for the great variations among people, and the particular needs of a greatly diverse world economy.

Here’s the full NPR story from one of our favorite learning sources Anya Kamenetz.

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