GED gets even tougher

When Ethel Garret takes her General Education Development test this year, it won’t be with a paper and pencil.
Krystle Wagner
Jan 20, 2014


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.



I took my GED test in 1975 at Longfellow School in Tulsa (where Paul Harvey went) and of course it was on paper. I was only 16 and sweating bullets among the mostly well passed mid 20’s adults.
I wanted to join the Air Force but you had to be a high school grad (and 17) so I rolled the dice, dropped out and passed the test (barely) but enough to get a GED and join up once my 17th birthday came around ...never regretted it one moment. If you are considering getting you GED fear not you get practice tests and they’ll help with the computer component! Go for me you'll never regret it!


Im glad they are making it tougher. I was a complete screw up in high school. The GED was a lifesaver. To be honest it was way too easy, I scored 100% on a few tests.


What happened to the good old fashioned way of getting a diploma? I did it the hard way and the way you should get your high school diploma. These people who go out and get a G.E.D. you'd swear they were college professors after they get it. You're slackers in my opinion. If I were an employer I would by pass anyone who only had a G.E.D. It was 1970 when I got my High School Diploma by attending 4 years of classes the way it should be enforced today if you want that diploma. My parents were strict and I am glad they laid the law down on me about it. I either stayed in school and graduated or I had to go out and get a job and start paying room and board. I decided it was best to stay in school and get my High School Diploma and I am so glad I made the right choice. Time were different then. These are some real sorry times. My advice is simply this; stay in school and get that High School diploma. You'll be glad you did in the long run.


Yeah I was a slacker I am not afraid to admit it. My parents pushed me very hard I was in jail for half my high school career it wasnt there fault. Both of their other kids graduated and went on to get college degrees. Your viewpoint is narrow minded. Remember these are still kids many who go on to become very succesful. It is a useful tool for those who struggled in a classroom setting. Sure there are plenty of slackers such as myself but you are making a big generalization.


"It makes one a better person to have had hardships and to have overcome hardships and not to blame anybody else for your mistakes." - Maureen Forrester

Well done, Tetrahydra!


I wouldn't exactly call you a slacker. Your comment shows an ability to self-reflect, a sharp sense of perception, and an understanding of the differences in people - and these are good and important attributes that many people never attain. And aren't necessarily learned in school.


Thanks for the kind thoughts lanivan and peopleareamazing. I know people like us are not a minority. Their are alot if idiots out there though.


"Don't let the bast**ds get you down".


And you probably still are a slacker. I have a low regard for anyone who takes the short cut of getting a G.E.D. Pay your dues like most of us did and you won't be considered a slacker. And I am entitled to my opinion here whether you like it or not. Last time I looked it was still America.


Listen bud you don't know me and you dont know sh!t about my life. You're opinion is idiotic. But since you are getting so personal allow me to share more.
I was one semester from graduating, I was going through emotional hell due to OCD, ADD, and depression. I am am addict and I made some very poor decisions. I went to jail in the last semester and the next fall I chose to get my GED so I could enter the work force. Thankfully you dont own a business maybe you could if you tried as hard as those who do! I was given an oppurtunity to work and havent looked back I have worked hard ever since. Please share your long list of accomplishments besides being an ignorant jackass.


I personally admire anyone that tries. You learned from your mistakes and made a life for yourself that you are proud of and that is what counts. It is part of growing up. Don't give him a reason. I think he suffers from oxygen deprivation from being so High and Mighty. Some people don't understand that life happens. I was close to giving up on high school myself. My father passed away when I was young and I have worked since I was 14 to help my Mom make ends meet. I have ADHD, I partied, fought, and raised hell as a teenager. I grew up great, have 20 employees that work under me, 2 amazing kids, 2 beautiful Grand kids and I couldn't be happier. I guarantee that it wouldn't have been any different had I gotten a GED instead of my Diploma. I still busted my but to get where I am today.


I'm really happy for you, watchingyou - it sounds like an idyllic life, and one lived "Your Way"! - but am disappointed you aren't encouraging Atomic Rooster to get a magazine, and go to the bathr.....


Thanks Lani, and No, he needs something entirely different. No amount of laxative in the world will make it better. He has a deep hatred for some reason. Maybe you should give another one of your hugs.


Might be a good suggestion, wy - after the (( )) I gave truthhurts a while back, look at the reasonable comment he just made - good 'ole common sense and Yankee ingenuity.

I do think I'll pass on your suggestion this time, tho. I'm very particular with the (( ))'s.


It’s unfortunate that more people can’t rehabilitate themselves like you have. It takes far more than a GED to be successful, not to mention overcoming the GED stigma that follows it. But having the drive to get a GED, then going on to learn a trade or get an associate’s/bachelor’s degree takes dedication.


We all make mistakes. I have my fair share of bad decisions under my belt as well; I was not exactly a model student in high school, got my diploma, but was never challenged and just could not connect with the teaching style of my teachers. Never partied or drank like most of my peers; in fact, I was the quiet, nerdy type. I just could not get good grades because instead of doing homework, I often was building electronics projects or doing research far beyond what was being taught in school; the homework didn't interest me, so I stupidly did not do it. I was far beyond those in my class, but the grades painted the opposite picture to those who only focused on the grades.

The important thing is that you made it through, and the bad decisions you made, and struggles you faced probably have made you a much stronger person.

Many people who have dropped out or have gotten a GED have actually gone on to be very successful, and have been behind some of the greatest innovations and discoveries in history.

Don't let the naysayers get you down. One of the most important things I have learned in life is to live life for yourself; don't worry about what others say about you, and don't feel you need to keep up with the Joneses. All you need to do is live life for yourself, be good to your fellow man, and you will find that right there already makes you successful.

Too many people these days feel success equals money and education; it's a load of crap. Keep your head up.


And how do you feel about the GED when the school recommends it because they are unable to meet the special needs of the child (understaffed to follow through with the 501 program)? Are they still lazy even though they busted their butts to do the work? Even Central recommended the GED to a child who has never been in trouble with either the law or the school. How do you feel about that situation. No snarky remarks, I want your honest thought out opinion.


I can’t agree with the statement they are all slackers.
I got mine because I was anxious to get into the Air Force where they would let me work on airplanes… (What were they thinking?); I took mine in the spring of my sophomore year albeit with some help from the Dept. of the Air Force making sure it would happen and at 17 years two weeks I was proudly sweating down to nothing in San Antonio Texas during a record hot late August…(What was I thinking?).

I've never used street drugs, didn't sleep in my Mom's basement and I've worked somewhere since I was 13 and after the Air Force at good jobs including some management and engineering positions all beginning with my slacker’s GED. I get it that far too many did just that, especially those that decided Pot was the best career builder ever (and now the president seems to agree).
I know people who dropped out of life early (pot smokers all) and decided to get their GED in their twenties which is bad but now they are taking a big step to get back into the stream of life getting a GED, its not the end-all but a great start and should be a proud moment! I applaud anyone with the fortitude to make a big step such as the GED late in shows a spark and we should offer a hand up and do what we can to help our brothers as they lift themselves up.


Still a slacker in my opinion. You had free education offered before you and you took the short cut. Schools should NOT enable anyone to take this short cut of getting a high school diploma. It's called paying your dues. Sorry but I came from the old school of getting a High School Diploma. I didn't take any short cuts. And NOTHING was ever handed to me. I worked hard for everything I have. That's the difference between my generation and yours. You could learn a thing or two from my generation. But I am sure you are above that sort of thing. And want everything handed to you on a silver platter. Try growing up for a change. It would make a world of difference for you.


You're doing a disservice to a great band's name by being a putz continually.
Why don't you find a more appropriate handle or lighten up from time to time. Even I'm not an azz all the time.......

Not everybody can take the "high" road that you subscribed to all the time. There are extenuating circumstances in a person's life from time to time so you do what you have to do to get to the next step.

Most us have done things earlier in our lives that we wish we'd not done, or could redo. I'd bet you could think of some if you got down off that high horse and thought for a moment.


I hate to make generalizations, but honestly, he sounds quite like some people I know...

Wealthy, entitled idiots who have had everything handed to them on a silver platter. They make nearly ALL the same arguments that he is making; they worked hard, never took hand-outs, etc...

The resemblance to some of those people I know is astounding. They have no clue what hard work really is, but they sure do brag about how hard they 'worked' for everything they have.

Come to think of it, there are many in congress that sound just like this when it comes to debates about helping the nation's poor.


So much for not snarky. I would bet that you and I are the same generation. In fact I would guess by your immature, defensive comments that I am much older than you. I even worked for my "handouts" as you call them when the company I worked for shutdown and I needed to support my family. Now I was not referring to myself but to a young man that was failed by the Public School system entirely. This young man works his butt off and is putting himself through GVSU because he refuses handouts. He pays for his classes himself from the money he makes at his job. He doesn't even want his parents to help because he believes in working for what he has and he knows he will appreciate it more. How do you feel about that. I would agree that a bunch of recipients of the GED are slackers, but not all. Even a lot of the Home Schooled kids receive GED's upon completion. But I would suppose you disagree with that too.


A special message to Atomic

"I realized that bullying never has to do with you. It's the bully who's insecure." -Shay Mitchell


You didn't take any shortcuts? You obviously missed the classes on decency, respect and common sense.

Former Grandhavenite

If you were born into a modern industrialized society with an extensive system of educational options, you most certainly were handed some advantages. If you had good enough physical and mental health to make it through, and you weren't forced to drop out at 16 to put food on your family's table- you absolutely were handed some more huge advantages. If you went to school in West Michigan or a similar area instead of an inner city school in Baltimore where you had to walk through gang territory to get to the building, well I guess that would be another advantage you were handed on a silver platter.

Anyone who ever claims to have done it all on their own, and had "nothing handed to me" is full of it and doesn't even realize just how lucky they truly are. More power to them for capitalizing on the fact that the deck was stacked in their favor, but at least show some level of self-awareness about it instead of attributing everything to your superior work ethic and morals.


Here is a list of slackers who got their GED:
Peter Jennings, ABC news anchor
Chris Rock, comedian
Hilary Swank, actress
Bill Cosby, comedian
George Harrison of The Beatles
Ringo Starr of The Beatles
Greg Mathis of "Judge Greg Mathis"
Cher, actress/musician
Dave Thomas, tycoon founder of Wendy's restaurant
Avril Lavigne, musician
Eminem, rapper/actor
Frank Sinatra, singer, actor
Danica Patrick, Indy Car racecar driver
Boy George, musician
John Travolta, actor, singer, dancer
Marylou Retton, Champion Gymnast
David Bowie, musician/actor
George Carlin, comedian
Prince, musician
Roger Daltrey of The Who
Richard Pryor, comedian
The list goes on, what do you have to say now atomicrooster? Are you going to tell me you have been more successful than anyone one that list?


LOL! I think he's been plucked! :-O


I doubt it.


Well played, tetrahydra!


Judging the above comments, sure seems to me that the GED holders did well for themselves. I know many professionals that have a GED and later went on to college.



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