The AP is reporting new statistics about GED-type alternative tests for high school graduation that include several new competing assessments that recently were created. The numbers look pretty grim.
• In 2012, before any changes were announced, 581,000 people took the GED, and 69 percent passed. So, about 400,890 people were successful.
• In 2013 – when rumors about the difficulty of the pending new tests started – 713,000 people took the GED, many rushing to get in ahead of the changes, and 76 percent passed.
• In 2014, the first year for the new tests, only 316,000 people took one of the tests, with only about 62 percent passing regardless of which exam they took. Only 195,920 passed.
Given that 2013 was sort of a panic, beat-the-change year, a comparison of the 2012 to 2014 results still gives cause for pause. The pass rate fell by 7 percentage points between 2012 and 2014 even though the number of people even attempting to pass the GED type tests in 2014 was down by almost 50 percent.
On a numbers basis, while 400,890 were successful in 2012, only 195,920 passed muster in 2014, just 48.9 percent of the number of successes just two years earlier.
To be sure, my research on the subject indicated the old GED (which stands for “General Education Development,” not “General Equivalency Diploma”) was not rigorous enough. Many agreed with me, including the US military, which over time treated GED holders as somewhere closer to high school dropouts than regular high school graduates.
However, the new GED may not really be the answer, either. I remain to be convinced that the so-called types of content-weak, higher-order-thinking skills supposedly being assessed by the new tests are actually as claimed.
For sure, it presently looks like Common-Core-aligned GED-type testing is locking more non-graduates out of any sort of high school credential – an almost guaranteed job killer for any applicant today.