New Castle News

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November 25, 2013

Your Education: Finish GED soon or start all over

NEW CASTLE — Still trying wrap up your GED exam?

If you don’t finish by the end of next month, you’ll have to start all over.

For 11 years now, GED test sites such as Lawrence County Community Action Partnership have been using the 2002 exam series. However, a new version of the exam will be inaugurated Jan. 2, meaning that if testers do not pass all five components of the current exam and earn their GED credential by Dec. 31, they will have to start over again with the new version.

Moreover, any scores already earned will not count.

“We are down to six weeks and we want to make sure the public knows that they have to finish this exam or start all over,” said Tracy Cherry, director of workforce development programs for LCCAP.

The main difference between the current and the new version of the exam is that the latter will be computer-based only. LCCAP currently offers both paper-and-pencil and computer-based testing, but since January has been converting its computer lab into a state-mandated Pearson Vue Testing Center.

The agency is also working with partner organizations to implement computer-based testing in Mercer County and at local correctional facilities. These include the Penn-State Shenango campus in Sharon, and the Lawrence, Butler and Mercer county jails.

According to, adults who take the GED test on computer score higher and finish faster. In fact, the web site says, “88 percent of people passed the GED test on computer, compared to 71 percent for those who tested on paper.”

The GED exam consists of five tests: writing, reading, social studies, science and math. Format and content changes in each area mean that any sections already completed using the 2002 version of the test will need to be redone if the entire exam is not finished by Dec. 31.

The 2014 exam is the fifth generation of the GED exam since its inception in 1942. New series followed in 1978, 1988 and 2002.

The 2014 series, says, “is no longer an endpoint for adults, but a springboard for more education, training, and better-paying jobs.”

“The new assessment will continue to provide adults the opportunity to earn a high school credential, but it goes further by measuring career- and college-readiness skills that are the focus of today’s curriculum and tomorrow’s success,” the web site adds. “Evidence suggests that test-takers who demonstrate fluency with the skills measured in the new assessment will be better prepared for what they plan to do with their lives.”

For those hoping to finish up the 2002 version, meanwhile, testing dates are still available at LCCAP through the end of the year, including day, evening and Saturday times. Cherry anticipates slots could fill up fast as testers try to complete the 2002 GED version prior to Dec. 21.

“LCCAP has provided the GED exam all or in part to 267 individuals this year to date,” she said, “and with the mad rush of individuals trying to complete and pass the exam, this number will be well over 300 by year’s end.”

Anyone needing to schedule a test date may call Michelle Scott at (724) 658-7258, extension 1418, or visit


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