State seeks new adult high school equivalency assessment provider

Maine has published a request for proposals (RFP) for a new adult high school equivalency assessment provider, citing concerns from testing sites they would not be able to completely transition to the GED® computer-based test by 2014.

Had the State not done so, the current version of the GED® used in Maine would be replaced by a 2014 standards-based test delivered only via computer starting this January. In addition to the new test delivery format and more rigorous test questions, any scores from subject area tests taken before January 2014 will not count toward completion, meaning students who had taken tests prior to January 2014 would have to start all over again. The cost of the new GED® was also expected to increase threefold, a cost that would have to be covered by the State as Maine does not charge people to take the GED®.

While GED has historically been the only provider of an adult high school equivalency assessment, several other vendors have begun offering prepared high school assessments. Given the choice of tests now available, the worry from adult education programs about meeting the strict logistical and technological requirements of the new GED and budgetary concerns, Maine DOE, in agreement with the Education Committee, decided to go out to RFP. The request was published last month with responses due Aug. 15.

Major requirements of the RFP include: a standards-based test that aligns with the U.S. DOE Office of Vocational and Adult Education Adult College and Career Readiness Standards; availability in both computer and paper-based formats; and capability to integrate current GED sub-test scores with the new assessment so test takers do not have to start over again.

Once the vendor has been chosen, training and outreach will take place to ensure practitioners and potential test takers are prepared for the new assessment.

Regardless of which test is chosen for January, an information campaign is currently underway to encourage more of Maine’s adults to earn their high school equivalency credential. This campaign is being financed in partnership with the Finance Authority of Maine.

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