Garret and other GED test takers throughout the country are studying for a revamped program, which measures high school equivalency and aligns with college and career-readiness standards.
In addition to becoming more rigorous and costly, the 2014 tests will be on the computer, and include a practice test with a score report detailing which areas students struggle with. It also provides study materials to increase understanding.
The test offers a free retake program.
Twice a week, Garret attends GED preparation classes at the Michigan Works! office in Grand Haven. The 66-year-old woman, who is studying for the writing component of the test, said she thought the changes were scary at first, but she isn’t worried.
“I think it will be all right,” Garret said.
Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, a nonprofit agency that owns the GED test, said adding the materials better prepares students for the exams and gets them connected to helpful resources.
The program costs $30 for each of the four test components, totaling $120. That's about twice the price of the paper-and-pencil test.
Not all states are on board with the rise in cost for the program that tests adult learners’ knowledge of social studies, mathematical reasoning, science and reasoning through language arts. Eight states – New Hampshire, Missouri, New York, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, West Virginia and Maine – have adopted two new tests that have entered the market.
Although the company has made changes to work out glitches with online testing, Central High School Principal Paul Kunde said he has concerns.
“The overall test, they needed to improve the rigor,” he said. “They’ve certainly done that. I have concerns about going to a completely online test.”
Kunde said they plan to have the online test running at the Grand Haven location by the end of the month.
As she studies for her test, Garret said she’s determined to finish it because she she owes it to herself.
“No matter what your age is, you can do it,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.