ERIC Identifier: ED314430
Publication Date: 1989-10-00
Author: Russell, Linda
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Tests
Measurement and Evaluation Washington DC., American Institutes for Research
The GED Testing Program. ERIC Digest.
Passing the Tests of General Educational Development (GED Tests) and earning
a high school equivalency diploma enables people who did not finish high school
to qualify for more jobs and opportunities. In 1988, nearly 740,000 people
throughout the United States, the U.S. territories, and in ten Canadian
provinces and territories took the GED Tests. About 72 percent passed the tests
and qualified for a GED diploma. More than 10 million persons have earned GED
diplomas since 1971.
Many adult education programs, schools, libraries, state governments, and
local governments work closely with the American Council on Education, the
sponsor of the GED, to help people who do not have a high school diploma. This
digest provides answers to some of the questions most often asked about the
WHO CAN TAKE THE GED TESTS?
Adults who are not in high
school or who left school without graduating can take the GED Tests, as long as
they meet other eligibility requirements set by their state department of
education. Many states, for example, have minimum age and residency
HOW USEFUL IS A GED DIPLOMA OR CREDENTIAL?
can qualify to attend college, enter training programs, and get better jobs. The
GED diploma, like a high school diploma, is no guarantee you will get a specific
job or into a specific college. However, many colleges and employers demand at
least a high school diploma or its equivalent. In the U.S., a recent survey
showed that 92 percent of all colleges accept GED graduates and 96 percent of
all employers accept the GED as the equivalent of a high school diploma.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO KNOW TO PASS?
There are five parts to the
GED Tests. They are: Writing Skills, Social Studies, Science, Interpreting
Literature and the Arts, and Mathematics. The test questions require general
knowledge and thinking skills. All the test questions are multiple choice,
except Part II of the Writing Skills Test, for which you must write an essay.
The tests are available in English, Spanish, and French and in large print,
audio, and Braille.
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR THE GED TESTS?
No formal preparation
is required, but many people attend adult education classes before taking the
GED Tests. Classes are offered by local school districts, colleges, and
community service agencies and are usually free. Teachers in these programs can
help you decide what areas you need to study to prepare for the tests. Books and
other study materials are also widely available at book stores and libraries. A
GED preparation program is carried by many cable and public television stations.
WHAT IS A PASSING SCORE?
Each state and province sets its
own passing scores. All are at or above a minimum set by ACE. Graduating high
school seniors are used to decide passing scores on the GED Tests; the test
questions are "tried out" on a nationally representative sample of seniors. To
earn a GED diploma, you must earn a higher score than did at least 30 percent of
the high school seniors in the sample. Scores ranging from 20 to 80 are used to
report GED Test results; a score of 50 is the median for U.S. seniors. Most
states require an average score of at least 45--a level at which 30 percent of
the graduating seniors would fail.
WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE GED TESTS GIVEN?
The GED Tests are
given at over 3,400 testing locations in the U.S., Canada, and overseas. To find
out about testing locations and times in your area, call your local adult
education program or state department of education. Some states have walk-in
testing; in others you must apply in advance.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TAKE THE GED TESTS?
places, there is a small fee for testing, and sometimes there is an additional
charge for issuing a credential or diploma. In four states and one U.S.
territory, the tests are given free of charge. Testing fees in the U.S. range
from $10.00 to about $35.00; in Canada, they average about $40.00. In some
states and provinces, there is an additional charge for retesting.
CAN I TAKE IT AGAIN IF I FAIL?
Yes. In some states and
provinces, there is a waiting period and a requirement that you attend a
preparation program before retesting. However, these are usually minimal
requirements. If you take the test more than once, your highest scores are
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For information about
adult education classes and test schedules call your local adult education
program, high school, community college, or public library.
For information about GED Testing Service research, test development, and
publications, write or call:
GED Testing Service
One Dupont Circle NW
Washington, DC 20036