ASU-Beebe:  Changes on the Way for the GED Program

Apr 18th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Education

By Frances Hart, Public Information Coordinator

Arkansas is one of only a few states that offers the General Educational Development (GED®) test at no cost to the student, but that may soon change.

The program is under the authority of the Arkansas Department of Career Education and serves Arkansans who are 16 years or older, not enrolled in or graduated from high school, and who meet other state requirements regarding residency and testing eligibility.

“The GED® test is undergoing a significant change in Arkansas and in the entire country,” said Janice Hanlon, administrator for the Arkansas GED.

“Every few years, we begin a new testing series.  We’ve been using the same test module since 2002, but in 2014 the test will be updated to reflect the common core educational standards required of today’s high school graduates,” she further said.

The standards include problem solving, computer skills and more advanced math skills. When a student earns a GED® diploma, the student is expected to have knowledge and skills equivalent to current-day graduating high school seniors.

In addition to the content itself, the test-taking method will change. The new test battery will be administered by computer, no longer by pencil and paper, beginning in January 2014.

The other big change coming at that time is the cost. Beginning in January 2014, the GED® test and diploma may no longer be free in Arkansas.

Adult education centers across the state will be equipped with the proper computer-based testing environment in order to comply with the new requirements.

“The new test battery is being managed and produced by the GED Testing Service®, which has formed a new partnership with Pearson, a global leader in education and testing. The GED® program they’re developing will not only reflect the common core standards, but also will indicate college and career readiness.  “The new test will cost more money than Arkansas has traditionally been able to absorb; therefore, some of the test’s costs may be borne by the student in the future,” Hanlon said.

Exactly how much a GED® diploma will cost each student remains to be seen. Requests to the legislature for additional funding are planned, along with grant applications and other sources of financial assistance for the program.

Until January 2014, preparation for the GED® and taking the test are free for Arkansans through the adult education centers around the state.

The official GED test is given weekly at the ASU-Searcy campus and once per month on the ASU-Beebe and ASU-Heber Springs campuses. For more details, contact one of the three ASU-Beebe Adult Education Centers: Beebe (501)-882-4419, Heber Springs (501)-362-1270 and Searcy at (501)-207-6290.

The ASU-Beebe Adult Education Centers provide free testing and instruction to students 18 years of age or older who are seeking to obtain a GED diploma or who are looking to improve basic skills.  Students 18 years of age or older must schedule an appointment for initial registration and assessment.  The Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) is administered to screen and determine placement information for reading, mathematics, and language.  Upon test completion, students will meet with an adult education staff member to discuss the results and determine a class schedule.

Morning, afternoon, and night classes are available.  Instruction is given in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Adult Secondary Education (ASE).  Distance education is available to students who qualify.