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Education The Almighty Buck United States

Some States Dropping GED Tests Due To Price Spikes 224

Posted by samzenpus
from the stay-in-school dept.
First time accepted submitter murkwood7 writes with news about states looking for an alternative to GED tests because of cost constraints. "Several dozen states are looking for an alternative to the GED high school equivalency test because of concerns that a new version coming out next year is more costly and will no longer be offered in a pencil and paper format. The responsibility for issuing high school equivalency certificates or diplomas rests with states, and they've relied on the General Education Development exam since soon after the test was created to help returning World War II veterans. But now 40 states and the District of Columbia are participating in a working group that's considering what's available besides the GED, and two test makers are hawking new exams."
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Some States Dropping GED Tests Due To Price Spikes

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  • ...does this mean that I'll finally be able to take the damn thing online?! I've been meaning to take it for years (I was homeschooled) but I've never been able to find time around my job to go to the classes.
    • by ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:28PM (#43449287)

      The test is computerized, but it is still proctored. You need to schedule the exam in a testing center, and show up at the appointment time with a valid ID.

      If GED test can be taken online, I bet you there will be attempts in test taker impersonation.

      • by longbot (789962)
        Thank you for replying to this with actual useful information rather than either a blatant troll or a defense. This is actually useful, and pretty much what I'd expected.

        It seems stupid that I can take college courses online, but not the GED tests. As of the last time I looked into it, it did require more than one appointment, which is part of what makes it so damned inconvenient for me.
        • If you able to find a GED test center that opens more than 8 hours a day, you can technically schedule ALL FIVE PARTS into one session. You will be going some 400+ minutes marathon without a lunch break.

          • by longbot (789962)
            I'll have to look into that. I work on-call, so a single whole day is a lot easier to swing than being unavailable part of several days. Thanks!
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      I dropped out of high school, didn't go to get my GED until around 10 years after that, didn't open text book or study tool/aid 1 took the test and passed first go. Just go take it, it's very easy.
  • We need a college ged or some kind badges system.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-11/news/ct-oped-0311-page-20120311_1_college-costs-rise-kayla-heard-college-attendance [chicagotribune.com]

    The cost of college is killing us and having loans that are very hard to get rid of just lets colleges drive prices up.

    • The only issue is if they give a test, and by passing hand you a degree, they call them diploma mills.

      • You know the material and got a degree. Everyone is happy. What is the problem?

        • You know the material and got a degree.

          Or more likely, you memorized the material and don't understand it, but you were able to pass because of poorly-designed tests. I doubt it'd be any different if you went through the entire process of getting a degree, though.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Only issues here is.

        1. Compulsarise.
        2. Caimpagn and off shore account donarise.
        3. Privatise
        4. Profitise.

        Seriously WTF?

    • by rgbrenner (317308)

      Like CLEP [wikipedia.org]?

    • by schnell (163007)

      We need a college ged or some kind badges system ... The cost of college is killing us

      Agreed on the four-year college/university front, but community college is still pretty inexpensive. If you're applying for jobs where community college is not good enough (i.e. they want a university degree), then no "college GED" or equivalent would ever be enough for them. That's because they are using which college you went to as a lazy substitute for figuring out how smart you are, or at least viewing your four-year university degree as some form of proof that you can function for some period of time a

      • We need a college ged or some kind badges system ... The cost of college is killing us

        Agreed on the four-year college/university front, but community college is still pretty inexpensive. If you're applying for jobs where community college is not good enough (i.e. they want a university degree), then no "college GED" or equivalent would ever be enough for them. That's because they are using which college you went to as a lazy substitute for figuring out how smart you are, or at least viewing your four-year university degree as some form of proof that you can function for some period of time away from your parents without washing out, landing in rehab or otherwise proving yourself a potential job liability.

        Yes some people can see the proof that you can function for some period of time away from your parents without washing out, landing in rehab or otherwise proving yourself a potential job liability. But that idea misses the fact that most community college are only 2 years, That tech schools get lumped into not an university degree and that in some classes in an university don't give all the skills needed to do a job while a tech school can in less time.

  • What a shock... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @06:20PM (#43447809) Journal

    In operation since shortly after WWII wrapped up, and now Pearson steps in and the price spikes... Allow me a moment to collect myself after such an earth-shattering surprise. Does anybody know what moment of insanity and/or oversight in foundational structure allowed Pearson to get in on the action in the first place?

    • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @06:24PM (#43447837)

      EVERYTHING PRIVATIZED IS MOAR BETTER!

      (Yes /. filter. I know that caps are like YELLING. That's the whole f'ing point)

    • Re:What a shock... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Herkum01 (592704) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @06:28PM (#43447855)

      The Irony? The operation is "Non-profit"!

      The IRS really should put these organizations in line or shut them down.

    • Re:What a shock... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @07:40PM (#43448159) Homepage Journal
      The issue is not necessarily price,but value. For instance the current generation of kids to have different experiences, and what needs to be tested is different, but the test can be changed for that. What can't be accommodated for is that in many surveys, what todays firm wants in an entry level employee is the ability to get to work on time, every day, the ability to do some basic reading, and the ability to be trained. These are skills that can be demonstrated through a high school diploma and not a test.

      Really these changes have been going on for a while, particularly since high schools have implemented somewhat rigorous testing as a barrier to graduation. Really, 20 years ago a GED was almost superior to a high school diploma. It demonstrated actual knowledge. Not that high schools are testiing, the high school diploma is preferred in many cases. For the past ten years I have not seen many use it for jobs. In fact even 20 years ago the only time I saw it used was to gain entrance to a community college or to qualify for a promotion at an existing job.

      In any case, the trend now seems to be extend high school for those who need it, try to get them into the workforce, and by hook or crook get a high school diploma. For heavily supervised work, that is enough. Anyone hired people for lightly supervised or unsupervised work is going to hire a college grad anyway. Even someone with an online degree can work semi-supervised.

  • State administrators must come up with an equivalent equivalency test.
    • Don't worry... they will hire highly qualified contractors to make the test.

      Probably the same consultants they pay $100k+ to change the name of courses like changing typing to keyboarding.

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @06:30PM (#43447863)
    The usual reason given for privatizing is the old canard "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost".
    .
    The real reason for privatizing is to help funnel public funds into the hands of the corporations run by the buddies of whomsoever happens to be in power at the moment, democrat or republican.
    .
    The idea of saving money helps sell privatization, but it never takes into account:
    -- cost over-runs
    -- no incentive to keep costs down
    -- no incentive to make availability or usability easy
    -- no incentive to use formats or techniques that would allow easy migration of data or processes onto other platforms in case this doesn't work out (i.e. companies have a perverse incentive to make themselves indispensable)
    -- low-ball bids make you think the cost is going to be lower, but the political pal always makes sure that the corporation gets a cost plus profit contract, rather than a fixed cost contract.
    It's a scam, this push to privatize is not helping anything.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @06:55PM (#43447989)

      > "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost".
      > The idea of saving money helps sell privatization, but it never takes into account:

      That this only works when there is competition.

      Creating a private monopoly just grantees that rents will go to the private hands.

    • The usual reason given for privatizing is the old canard "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost"

      And it's nearly always true... when there is competition.

      When there's no competition, when a single private corporation is set up as a government-mandated monopoly, the result is always going to be very bad. You can make it less bad by adding a government regulatory body to provide oversight, but the result will still be less efficient than if there were true competition.

      • by Wildclaw (15718)

        Even with competition you run into the age old problem that private companies optimize for factors that aren't efficient for government.

        For a private company, firing 100 people can be a massive efficiency boost. For the government, 100 unemployed people easily ends up costing more than just employing 100 people as it has to deal with the long term consequences.

        Efficiency for the government is using less imported and natural resources. Meanwhile, private companies will easily spend more on imported and natur

        • Oh, get out of here with your socialist nonsense. Government should be run exactly like a business. Granted, a business that tries to reduce revenue to the lowest possible level and has a board of directors that constantly talks about how terrible business is and how business never does anything which can possibly increase revenue in the future ... but other than that, exactly like a business. Yeah.

      • But how do you have competition when you need a standard test? Either the companies have to agree to a flat specification for said test, in which case you need a regulatory body anyway, or they're selling the same product, in which case they can't improve their products. Making it government-run looks like the right thing to do in this case, even though it has its own inefficiencies, because there just can't be a functional market.
        • Didn't you read GPP's post? Competition! Free market! Invisible hand! Everything will be better if we get the government out of the way and let the network of innovative job-creating entrepeneurs optimize the educational testing paradigm for maximal stakeholder impact!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Privatization

      - Less bloat.
      - Kickbacks to Congresscritters from companies.

        Government-Provided

      - More bloat.
      - Kickbacks to Congresscritters from unions.
      - More voters directly attached to tit of government.

      • by type40 (310531)
        Yes, you never read about over bloated private companies here on Slashdot... It is easier for private companies to shed bloat (Hey, you. You don't work here any more, get the fuck out.) vs. government, mostly because government jobs generality require management to show cause to fire someone (Joe Jackoff is bad at his job and here is the documentation to prove it). Of course both never seem to fire the useless middle mangers when its time to drop the ax.
        • The advantage in the private sector is not that companies are inherently more efficient than governments. It's that inefficient companies tend to go out of business.
          • by BVis (267028)

            I don't see how that's a benefit here. If we hand over education to the private sector, and the company running your school district goes bankrupt, yay free market, but where do your kids go to school while another company extorts massive tax breaks out of your town to take over the schools?

            We have a similar problem in our town. The water company is privately owned. They run the company about as well as a bunch of howler monkeys on acid; when there was a boil order for a couple weeks in 2009, the company

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
      -- Derek Bok

      (If you think the corporations are going to provide better education at a lower cost, you are just starting to try ignorance: on short term, serves the corporations even better)

    • The usual reason given for privatizing is the old canard "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost".

      That's one of the reasons. The other is that, since the government has extraordinary powers (the ability to arbitrarily take what it wants from its citizens, imprison them, execute them), any tasks that do not require those extraordinary powers should not be performed by the government, in order to reduce the ability to abuse those powers.

      Most of the problems you iterate only come about if you privatize a monopoly (indispensibility, keeping costs down, etc); monopolies are going to be problematic, regardles

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Well, privatization makes sense when there can actually be competition. It also makes sense if you lack an economy of scale that a private company could offer.

      However, if you privatize something that you already have economy of scale on and give an exclusive contract to a single company, well, yes, you're going to get clobbered.

      If the state police is running its own paper mill to create ticket pads for its officers then buying the paper from whoever is cheapest that month makes sense. On the other hand, p

  • Here's an interesting idea. What if a cash-strapped school district started giving the test to all their better students in 9th or 10th grade, so as to not have to teach them for two or three years? How hard would it be to get a quarter of the high school students to pass it a few years early?

    I don't think this would be a great policy in most cases, though I'll admit that I considered taking the GED to get out of high school a year early. It could be a good option for some kids.

    • by i.r.id10t (595143)

      Backfire. Schools are typically funded by "how many butts are in the seats at 8am on these particular days of the term".

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      What a joke that would be. I suspect I could have passed that test in middle school, as could the top 25% or so of any high school. They're testing for minimal proficiency - ie that somebody performs as well as somebody who just barely managed to get a diploma. These are the sorts of students who make headlines in surveys that show that most Americans can't point out Europe on a map.

      While I won't say that high school was the most efficient learning experience it could have been, I still learned quite a b

      • I still learned quite a bit while there.

        But most people seem to simply memorize quite a bit while there and don't accomplish much else. I'd say almost anyone would be better off just getting a GED if they want to have a piece of paper so badly.

  • Think about it, it takes 30-40 hours of prep to pass the GED test. But it takes 3,000-4,000 hours of time to graduate from regular high school. If you could really compress high-school by 100x then everybody should just get a GED and skip those four years of waste.

    Obviously it doesn't work that way. Getting a GED has barely, if any, effect on long-term outcomes. As in, if you dropped out of high school you are probably just as screwed regardless of if you get a GED or not.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Yup, a GED is a box-checking exercise (job requires diploma or GED - check box). I suspect that the top 25% of 8th graders could probably pass it.

  • Do you need a GED to stack topsoil bags at Home Depot or lay roofing tiles? Do you need a GED to mash the chicken shaped button on the cash register.

    • Yes, therwise your employment application will not ask for the name of your high school and whether you graduated or not. Nowadays, even dishwashing jobs require a high school diploma or GED.

      • by gelfling (6534)

        Require and need are different things

      • Nowadays, even dishwashing jobs require a high school diploma or GED.

        I don't have a source, since I heard it from a FOAF (friend of a friend), but I heard McDonalds is asking for college grads for some entry-level jobs now!

    • by PPH (736903)
      Yeah, but the other 70% do.
      • by gelfling (6534)

        Nah. After all where do you think Democratic voters come from? They can't all be illegal Mexicans.

  • Looking at this from outside the US: it looks really strange to privatize high school final exam. What could be the benefit? You have public schools with teachers on payroll, why not pick randomly 100 of them each year, ask them to write a test, then randomly pick what is your exam.
    • by WMD_88 (843388)

      It's not the high school final exam, per se. It's an exam you can take *instead* of actually going to high school. Nobody does both.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        I missed that point. But why two different exams? (I assume there is a high school final exam, is that right?)
        • by WMD_88 (843388)

          Not really. It depends on the state you live in; in my state, there was an exam you had to take in order to graduate, but it was given in 10th grade instead of at the end - didn't make much sense, except maybe to allow those who didn't pass the first time to re-take it without graduating late. So overall, I'm not aware of the US having anything similar to the GED that students take while actually in school. So there isn't anything to pull from, in that sense.

          Of course, your original question was: why pri

  • If you are applying for Federal student aid to go to college, you NEED a high school diploma or GED certificate.

    Before 2012 you can get financial aid by passing the ability-to-benefit (ATB) test. Now that option is gone. ATB test, which test only English and Math skills, are very popular among the adult immigrant population who are getting a technical degree or similar. Now they will have to pass GED which means learning social science and civics among others that they will probably NEVER use.

    • If you are applying for Federal student aid to go to college, you NEED a high school diploma or GED certificate.

      Where is this? I know someone who home schooled his son and his son was able to apply for a grant even though he didn't have a diploma or a GED.

    • If you are applying for Federal student aid to go to college, you NEED a high school diploma or GED certificate.

      Before 2012 you can get financial aid by passing the ability-to-benefit (ATB) test. Now that option is gone. ATB test, which test only English and Math skills, are very popular among the adult immigrant population who are getting a technical degree or similar. Now they will have to pass GED which means learning social science and civics among others that they will probably NEVER use.

      The social sciences and civics part of the test IS TAUGHT WITHIN THE TEST. It's like reading comprehension. Even the Science section puts forth the information you need to know then asks you about it. I know, I had to drop out of school to support myself, and got a GED. They gave us a pre-test of the GED first, to see what areas we needed to study before the test. I aced it with only a single wrong answer: I forgot a negative sign in a simple algebra problem. The instructor let me skip the bullshit "

  • Teacher salary, desk, administration. I think the national average is $7K per pupil per year (times four years).

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