New Castle News

TOP STORIES

December 10, 2013

Test-driven: Changes in GED exam take effect Jan. 2

NEW CASTLE — For some people, a GED is one of the most important pieces of paper they may possess.

And achieving that accomplishment could be a resolution for the new year.

Ashley Leonard had a goal to pass her GED and once she did, new doors opened up almost immediately.

Mastering the reading, writing, social studies and science tests for the GED was a breeze for Leonard.

But getting through the mathematics section was more of a struggle for the 23-year-old New Castle resident. The first time she took the math test, she didn’t pass.

On Nov. 28, she succeeded.

It was important for Leonard because she is trying to make life better for herself and her family. But it was also important that she passed when she did because beginning Jan. 2, the way GED testing is done will change and she would have had to start over again.

Leonard attended GED preparation at CareerLink through a program offered by Lifelong Learning Choices.

She took her tests on computer as opposed to the paper and pencil method, which will soon be eliminated.

Starting Jan. 2, all GED testing will be done via computer through the state-mandated Pearson Vue Testing Center. The 2014 series is no longer considered an endpoint but a starting point for further education, training and better-paying jobs.

TEST ALTERATIONS

There are more major changes taking effect the first of the year.

According to Gillian Maule, director of Lifelong Learning choices, the 2014 version includes four subjects — reasoning through language arts, social studies, science and mathematics.

Lynne Watson, education coordinator at Lifelong Learning Choices, said the version that has been used since 2002 was 100 percent multiple choice, whereas the 2014 test is 50 percent multiple choice. Both are based on the common core standard.

What was added was fill-in-the-blank, drop-and-drag, short answers in the language arts and science, and items where a blank is filled in using Hotspots, Watson noted.

Short answers are up to a paragraph in length while extended answers are equivalent to an essay, she continued. The 2002 test had no short answer feature.

Overall, the tests also demonstrate command of the computer.

“In this day and age, people need some degree of computer technology to be successful,” Maule said.

GRADING AND FEES

Scoring will change, too.

A student must achieve a score of 150 to pass, Watson said, adding scores of 150 to 169 are passing and a score of 170 to 200 is considered honors.

“It’s different because some colleges may accept the GED now and it also relates to employment.”

Scores will also be available immediately.

The reasoning-through-language-arts test takes about three hours to complete, the social studies test takes about 90 minutes to finish, and the science and math tests each require about 75 minutes to complete. The tests can be taken in segments or all at one time.

The computerized tests will cost $120.

Right now, there is no cost to take a practice test, but that will also change in 2014. There is an online practice test for each subject and it will cost between $4 and $6 for each practice test, Maule said.

CLASS ACTION

Meanwhile, some students are scrambling to finish a segment or segments of the 2002 version by the end of the year.

“We assist students to get registered for the tests,” Maule explained, adding each student has a goal, and the teacher knows that person’s strengths and weaknesses.

When the 2014 version goes into effect, a student can take each test three times in a calendar year, said Tracy Cherry, director of workforce development at Lawrence County Community Action Partnership — one of the sites where the tests are administered.

“Many individuals struggle with ‘what next’ once they earn the GED,” Cherry pointed out. “LCCAP offers various job readiness, employment assistance, and career exploration services to help individuals overcome barriers to employment, identify skills and build a career plan. This assistance is available now and into 2014.”

“Getting a GED is a nice accomplishment for students to have,” Maule added. “It’s difficult for some students. They may have to start all over again, take a deep breath, and recognize the progress they’ve already made, and their skills and abilities. But their life has been enhanced in some way working toward their educational goal. We are excited as an agency to move forward as we get into 2014.”

Leonard said the teachers and tutors do a phenomenal job and are terrific at building confidence.

“Their support got me through it.”

Passing her GED was life changing, she said, and she now plans to attend a college full time to study nursing or social work, and is searching for a job.

“You can’t get too far without a high school diploma. When I passed the GED, I cried because I was so happy.

“I know it will be hard but in the end, it will be worth it. I’m determined to do this. It’s never too late to get your education.”

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.

     
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

House Ads
Poll

Do you talk to yourself when you're alone?

Yes, but I’m basically just thinking out loud.
No, that would be weird.
I don’t know. Next time I’m alone, I’ll ask.
     View Results