GED completion by year’s end encouraged, but not necessary

There has recently been widespread national media coverage about the rush for test-takers to complete their GED before a new version of the high school equivalency exam is released in January and their previous scores are deleted.

That news has made some Mainers nervous, but they shouldn’t be.

While we do have an active close-out campaign in partnership with the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to encourage those pursuing their high school equivalency credential to complete their GED before the year’s end so they can move on with their employment, post-secondary and personal goals, it is not actually a requirement.

That’s because the Maine Department of Education worked to find a new provider that would allow those already underway with the current GED battery to transfer their sub-test scores into the State’s new high school equivalency assessment.

That new provider, Educational Testing Service (ETS), was selected through a competitive process after the GED announced that not only would  scores from their subject battery tests taken before 2014 be wiped out, but their prices would also more than double and they’d only be offering a computerized version.

Instead, Maine will offer the ETS High School Equivalency test, known as HiSET, which covers the same content areas as the current GED and allows test-takers to demonstrate proficiency of the academic skills expected by employers and post-secondary institutions. The tests, paid for by the Maine DOE, will be offered via traditional paper and pencil, as well as computer at 76 testing sites across the state.

This Department-led change ensures the shifts at the GED, which recently became a for-profit venture, will not be burdensome for Mainers working hard toward their high school equivalency credential or for the state’s many testing sites who were not ready to move to a solely computerized test.

In an effort to support Maine DOE and FAME’s close-out campaign that has included print, broadcast and social media promotion, many local testing sites have been offering special math marathons to prepare potential test-takers and holding expanded weekend hours for preparation and testing.

As a result, already in the first 10 months of 2013, 2,699 Mainers have successful earned their high school equivalency credential, a significant increase over the 1,878 who did so in 2012 and the 2,258 who did so in 2011.

We’re excited to see so many Mainers have done so because of the doors we know this credential will open for them. Whether it’s the potential for a new job, higher earnings or a college education, the opportunity to obtain a high school equivalency credential is a life-changing second chance we’re proud to help provide.

For more information about earning a high school equivalency credential, visit www.mainegednow.com.