The Big Problems With Pearson's New GED High School Equivalency Test (2023)



(Update: response from the GED Testing Service and another response from the author of the post)

For decades, the GED test has been widely known for providing a pathway to high school equivalency for people who have not earned a traditional high school diploma and need a second chance to get a job.

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What may not be so well known is that what was once a program run by the non-profit American Council on Education is now a for-profit company that includes Pearson, the largest education company. biggest in the world.

And the new GED test developed by Pearson, which went into effect on January 1, 2014, is much more difficult than the old one, and the failure rates are staggering. According to the GED Testing Service, pass rates fell 90 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year, though part of the reason is that far fewer people are taking them.


(Video) GED Math - How to Get the Right Answers on the 2023 Test (1)

How heavy is the new GED? Inthis story from Daily BeastIn January 2015, Matt Collette, an educational reporter and radio producer in New York with a master's degree from Columbia University, reported that he felt "burned out and stupid" after completing a practice GED and was in most of the four parts. good . The GED has four content areas: literacy, science, mathematics, and social studies.

Why is this so difficult? The new test, now only administered on computers, targets the Common Core and focuses on college readiness rather than workforce readiness.

Because of these problems and the cost ($120 per test), some states, including New York, have stopped using the GED.

On Tuesday, July 14, the Texas State Board of Education will host a public hearing on the Texas High School Equivalency Certificate, which requires passing the GED. Adult literacy agencies plan to testify to the growing frustration they see regarding the GED, arguing that adult education students should be able to choose which equivalency test they want to take in high school. Other test alternatives to Pearson's GEDn include McGraw Hill's HiSET and TASC HSE.


Here's a post about how the new GED is impacting adult learners by Amber Sims, vice president of strategic partnerships for the nonprofit LIFT, or Literacy Instruction for Texas, whose mission is to teach adults to read by providing basic education. for adults, GED and ESL. courses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Sims also serves as a volunteer elementary school reader in the Dallas Independent School District and is a member of collective community work groups such as Winning in Neighborhoods Strategically and Partners in Progress, which focus on improving educational and employment opportunities for the South. of Dallas. She is also a member of The OpEd Project's Dallas Public Voices Greenhouse.

By Amber Sims

It is testing time. You're pretty confident about your chances of taking the GED test, and then the following question occurs to you in the math section:


A 6-foot-tall ranger standing about 16 feet from a tree uses his digital rangefinder to calculate the distance between his eye and the top of the tree at 25 feet. how tall is the tree

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For this question alone, you use almost five minutes of your 120 minutes for the 46-question math test. If you had the solution key, you would know: “But you can't solve this task. Because the rangefinder measures the distance from the ranger's eyes and you don't know how high his eye is above the ground."

I take this question from an actual completed GED practice test as evidence that the makers of the test have created a GED that is much more difficult than it needs to be. I can confirm this hunch by looking at the dramatic drop in the number of people who have passed the GED since its review two years ago.

According to GED Testing Services, of the 248,000 people who took the test last year, about 86,000 successfully earned a GED. That's a free fall from last year's 800,000 test takers and nearly 560,000 GED recipients in 2013.


Pearson, the UK education company and administrator of the new computer-based General Equivalency Diploma (GED), has argued that these numbers are to be expected for a new test. Many GED prep sites that serve adult learners, including LIFT, the Texas-based literacy organization I work for, would see it differently.

LIFT has been working with adults for more than 50 years and we've seen the number of students passing the GED test drop from 21 in 2013 to just two in 2014. Read the GED headlines across the country and you'll see a recurring theme: the exam is noticeably more difficult than it used to be.

Test takers must be able to write at 25 words per minute and be proficient in advanced algebra to align the new test with the National Core Curriculum. Also, the cost has increased from $80 to $120, requires a credit card on file, and there are very few local testing sites. As a result, it's nearly impossible for the average GED student to pass, and it's becoming even more impossible for us to find the GED-qualified workforce we desperately need across the country.


The test created by Pearson has now made it extremely difficult for low-income Americans to obtain a degree needed to fill virtually any job in this country, and the impact on America's identity as the "land of opportunity" is proving catastrophic. .

One such person is one of our clients named Karen, who has the intelligence, skills and experience to make her the perfect candidate for a higher paying "intermediate skills" job that offers a path out of poverty. The mother of two is a minimum wage home care aide. She has been coming to LIFT for over two years but is really struggling with this new test.

(Video) ABE/GED/ESL at College of DuPage

In the next few years, cities across the country will generate thousands of "middle-skill" jobs, such as programming specialists, nursing assistants, help desk and technology workers, who are said to earn an average of $25 per job. a new reportabout Dallas-Fort Worth, which is part of a series by J.P. Morgan Chase, which covers labor market conditions in major US metropolitan areas. The minimum requirement for all of these jobs requires at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent and additional education or training no higher than a bachelor's degree.


But to give more low-income, low-skilled people a chance to get those jobs, we must offer them new ways to get the credentials they need, and one way is to give adults something other than the GED to show equivalency. high school for references. In fact, 10 states have already eliminated the GED test and replaced it with other tests; Texas delayed its decision until June 2016. If we are to prepare for these jobs, states must move quickly to do the same and help add more qualified candidates to the workforce.

Programs that connect employers and employees are also part of the answer. For example,Georgia has created an employer incentive program to help employees pass the GED test with tax deductions.Georgia recognizes that access to mid-skill jobs is necessary to create stronger, more self-sufficient families.

Getting there will require a community effort to equip more of our residents through bachelor's and equivalency training programs. Those of us in the adult education field are eager to join the effort to create more employable residents. But we need to invest more to help our residents earn a high school diploma or its equivalent to meet both the demands of employers and the needs of families.

This is a response from Randy Trask, President of the GED Testing Service.

The recent July 9 blog article (The Big Problems with Pearson's New High School GED Equivalency Test) gets a number of things wrong, both factually and perceptionally. While we welcome a proactive conversation about the new GED® test, we must ensure that the conversation is respectful of the tens of thousands of adults who have passed the test and the thousands of adult educators who serve these adults on both the test and in the exam. prepare for life after the test.

In recent years, it has become clear from feedback from employers, colleges, universities, and test takers that the value of the GED® certificate has eroded. Although the GED® test was originally developed at the request of the United States Armed Forces Institute, the Department of Defense had downgraded the previous test to a second- or third-category credential for admission. That was a clear sign that employers were looking for a change.

(Video) Introducing the 2014 GED Program


It also became clear that GED® graduates were losing ground in the job market. They were unable to compete with high school graduates for the few low-skill jobs available, and fewer than 12% earned the vocational training and college degrees needed for the growing segment of mid-skill jobs. In fact, research by a Nobel Prize-winning economist shows that the earnings and other key outcomes of GED® graduates were comparable to those of high school dropouts, not college graduates. However, GED® graduates quickly saw that their income and career prospects were similar to those of high school graduates when they pursued vocational or college education.

Today's GED® graduates want jobs as firefighters, teachers, paramedics, certified nursing assistants, dental hygienists, and computer programmers, to name a few. These jobs require higher education, additional professional training, or special certification. Whether it's the military, fast food, retail, hospitality or health care, employers want employees with the skills now measured by the GED® test. Skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and digital literacy.

Furthermore, the blog post relies on false information to promote a one-sided view. The GED® test sample question is not a question that does not appear on either the GED® test or the practice test, and it is not even a question from a reputable textbook. The Daily Beast article referenced in the article is based on the author's reaction to a practice test that is not an official GED® practice test, although the author wants readers to believe that is the case. . Why bother using fake questions when you can find examples of authentic GED® test questions on the GED® website?

Contrary to what the article suggests, I am happy to report that the national pass rate for the GED® test is approximately 68% over the past six months. One in four states currently have a pass rate of over 70% and a handful have a pass rate of over 80%
Proof. For comparison, the national pass rate for the above test in 2012 was 69%. In fact, on the new GED® test, students do better in all subjects except math. They do almost the same in math as they did on the previous GED® test, but they can no longer make up for a lower math score with higher scores in other subjects. You see, in the past, GED® test takers could hide lower math scores by applying additional points from other subjects to reach the passing score total. As of January 2014, students must demonstrate the mathematical proficiency of an average US high school student to pass the GED® test and receive a certificate demonstrating true equivalency to high school level knowledge and skills. We must ensure that our adults have the skills and knowledge of a typical high school graduate to restore confidence in the GED® certification and prepare more adults for jobs in today's workforce.

Throughout the history of the GED® program, each new series of GED® tests has changed to meet the new needs of students. Each time the test changed, students demonstrated that they could meet the requirements, and employers benefited from a better educated and better prepared workforce. This will be the case again. We are already seeing trend lines that show GED® graduates are entering college and career programs in greater numbers. We have thousands of success stories directly from GED® graduates, like 52-year-old Sergio from Texas. I encourage you to read some of the incredible stories that GED® graduates have told. They are proud of their achievements and we should be equally proud of their achievements and future prospects.

The focus should not be on which test is easier to pass, but on how we as a nation invest time, energy, and resources to give these students a real second chance at a better life, not a second chance at poverty.

randy trask
President, GED Testing Service

And here's a response to Trask from Amber Sims, author of the post:

While tens of thousands of people have equipped themselves with a GED, tens of thousands more have been left without living wage jobs and a better life for themselves and their families because of a test imposed on them. Americans want and need additional high school equivalency testing options.

Mr. Trask acknowledges that the GED pass rate has hit 68% in the last six months, but he does not provide data to counter the 2014 figures. It should also be noted that these dates and other dates he lists are not yet They are on the GED website. In fact, more than halfway through 2015, GED officials have yet to release the official numbers for the 2014 test, and the last press release on their website is from January 2015 (apart from the response to this post ). If these numbers are to be used in articles, GED officials must also provide documentation to support these claims and make them readily available.

Mr. Trask points out that people are now looking for jobs like firefighters and teachers, they always have been. The real difference is that no matter what career path people are seeking, the GED or other high school equivalency test becomes a prerequisite. GED officials collect data that concludes that some people are looking for a job while others are looking to further their education. GED leaders should consider separate tests to differentiate these two very different populations.

In response, GED officials failed to address the enormous costs associated with testing and preparing for nationally recognized tests, and how you can use your stature to work with states to reduce the costs that thousands of Americans face and represent a very heavy burden. real. While earning a high school diploma is a great investment, test takers should not have to choose between taking the test or jeopardizing their quality of life.

LIFT would like to invite Mr. Trask to Texas to meet with some of LIFT's student workers and local employers who need to hire entry-level employees so he can hear their feedback and explain his position to them personally. LIFT is honored to host the meeting and continue the dialogue on this very important topic.

Update: The Texas State Board of Education decided to submit an RFP offer to explore alternatives to the GED test.

(Video) GED, HiSET and TASC - What's the difference between these tests?


Is the new GED test harder or easier? ›

Most of all, they said, it's harder. So much harder, in fact, that pass rates reportedly plummeted in many states.

Is the new GED test hard? ›

The GED exam is a tough test, both to prepare for and actually pass. It takes dedication and hard work. Use your time wisely, apply yourself, and you should have no problem passing this exam. It is a matter of practice and will power, not natural intelligence.

How hard is an equivalency test? ›

GCSE Maths Equivalency Test

The pass mark for the maths equivalency test tends to be in the region of 60% depending on the difficulty of the paper. Some providers offer higher and foundation exams but it makes sense to stick with foundation as there is less to learn and the exam is usually easier to pass.

Which test is easier to pass the GED or the HiSET? ›

Experts say that while the tests are very similar that the HiSET math section is slightly easier to pass than the GED math section.

Which subject is the hardest in GED? ›

Generally speaking, though, we can say that most GED students find Mathematics the most problematic and challenging of the four GED modules (subtests).

What is the easiest GED program? ›

RLA is the easiest of the four GED test subjects.
It is divided into four main subject areas:
  • The United States and World History.
  • Civics and the Organization of Government.
  • Economics.
  • Geography.

What is a passing score on the GED 2022? ›

The GED® test has a passing score of 145 for each test subject. To earn your high school equivalency, you'll need to score 145 or higher on all four subjects.

What is the easiest way to pass the GED test? ›

Here are five key tips to set you up for success in preparing for and passing the GED:
  1. Learn What to Study. The GED is made up of four parts, testing your knowledge of reading, math, social studies, and science. ...
  2. Take Practice Tests. ...
  3. Study Consistently. ...
  4. Find a Preparation Program.
Oct 29, 2019

Why is it so hard to pass the GED test? ›

The GED test is hard because it is very time-pressured. But if you prepare with good resources, the GED is quite easy. The GED test gives you limited time (from 70 to 150 minutes, depending on the subject) for around 35-40 questions per subject.

How much does equivalency testing cost? ›

The equivalence test costs £85 per exam for St Mary's Applicants, £100 for all other applicants. One Resit is allowed, but will require another exam payment.

How long does it take to get equivalency certificate? ›

The processing time for the Equivalency Certificate is anywhere between 2 and 30 business days from date of submission. However, the Ministry of Education also reserve the right to request more and/or different documents on a case by case basis so ensure you factor in plenty of time in case their are delays.

What is the purpose of equivalency certificate? ›

Equivalency certification is the process by which the Ministry of Education in UAE endorse the educational qualification and confirm the education to be equal to UAE standard. It involves a few steps of certificate attestation at government departments in the country of origin of the document as well as in UAE.

Is a HiSET better than a diploma? ›

Passing the HiSET exam gives you a diploma that is equal to a high school diploma. The HiSET diploma can help you get a better education and improve your career opportunities.

What percent of people pass the HiSET? ›

The HiSET pass score is based on a national study of high school juniors and seniors and indicates that 60 percent of graduating high school students would pass the HiSET exam. Your score reports show whether or not you passed. What is a scaled score?

How many times can you fail the HiSET? ›

If you fail one of the HiSET subtests, you can take that section again. You cannot take that subject test more than three times within one calendar year, and that includes the actual test and two retakes.

Does Harvard accept GED students? ›

Most U.S. colleges, including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, accept an applicant's GED certificate, just as they do a high school diploma. GED diploma-holders can apply as first-year applicants or transfer students if they've already earned some college credits.

What is the highest math on the GED test? ›

To pass the GED Math Test, you must earn a score of at least 145. The highest score is 164, and anything below 145 is considered failing.

What is a good GED score to get into college? ›

If you want to get to college, your GED score needs to be at least in the 165-174 range. If you get at least 165 points per subject, you've demonstrated skills and knowledge at a level that gives you a higher distinction. This score (165-174) is known as “GED College-Ready.”

Is the GED harder than high school? ›

Earning a GED is not necessarily harder than getting a high school diploma, but the process between the two is different. This means while one is not more difficult than the other to earn, one of these options may be a better fit for you and better match your study habits and goals.

What is the lowest score you can get on the GED test? ›

GED® Test score requirements are: Required minimum standard score of 145 on each test (Max possible: 200)

What kind of essay is on the GED test? ›

The GED essay is an argumentative essay. A common method for writing this type of essay is the five-paragraph approach.

How many questions can you get wrong on the GED? ›

As a general rule, you'll need to answer at least 60-65% of a section's questions correctly to achieve a passing score. Practice until you're confident you'll be able to pass the exam. If you do not pass, you can reschedule up to two times a year to retake any or all of the tests.

What happens if you fail one part of the GED? ›

If you did not pass one of your GED® test subjects, you are given two subsequent retests, with no restrictions between retakes. If you fail the third or any subsequent retest, you must wait 60 days for your next attempt.

How many questions can you miss on the GED to pass? ›

The GED test scores range from 100 to 200 on each test. Passing the GED test requires a score of at least 145 on each subject test. What does that mean? It means you need to aim to answer about 45% of the questions correctly.

What level of math is on the GED? ›

The math section will challenge your skills in basic math, geometry, algebra, and graphs and functions. Once you study each of these areas long enough, you'll be confident that you can pass.

How smart do you have to be to pass the GED test? ›

What is a Passing GED Score? You need to receive a score of 145 or better to pass the GED. But students who score higher may be eligible to receive college credit or even skip college entrance exams.

How many points is the GED essay worth? ›

Your essay is worth 20 percent of the entire score for the GED Reasoning through Language Arts subtest.

Do most people pass the GED? ›

The majority of GED® test takers completed the exam (70.2 percent), meaning they took all four subject-area modules. Of those completers, 85.3 percent passed and received their GED® credential.

Is the Social Studies GED test hard? ›

The GED Social Studies test isn't hard if you're prepared. Remember, the GED Social Studies test isn't about memorization. No one will expect you to remember specific historical details.

How hard is the GED science test? ›

To summarize, the GED Science test is not difficult. Take a lot of practice tests to get familiar with the science questions, and you will be able to pass the test.

How do I prepare for the English equivalency test? ›

Preparation guidance

In order to prepare for this paper, candidates are recommended to consult English papers from the major examination boards. The exam boards provide access to past papers, mark schemes and guidance materials.

What do I need for equivalency? ›

​​​​​​​What is the procedure for getting an equivalence letter from HEC? The applicants would be required to upload HEC Attested Degrees from Bachelor onwards for issuance of equivalence letter along with supporting documents i.e. CNIC, Professional Council Registration, Marriage Certificate, etc., where required.

How do you get a reconsideration of equivalency certificate? ›

  1. Click on start the service.
  2. Register or Log in to your account or UAE PASS.
  3. Fill out the application.
  4. Upload the supporting documents.
  5. Application will be reviewed to confirm the details and the attachments.

Does equivalence certificate required? ›

Students who go to India for studies need to obtain Equivalence Certificate issued by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi. The Evaluation Division of AIU issues the Equivalence Certificate to students with foreign qualifications to facilitate their admission in Indian Universities.

Where can I make an equivalence certificate? ›

  1. Apply at
  2. Fill the profile and required educational information.
  3. Fill the Equivalence details.
  4. Upload the following documents.
  5. Submit the application.
  6. After submission of application, you will be assigned a task of paying the Fee Challan and verify the payment.

What is a US equivalency report? ›

A foreign equivalency certification is a report by an acceptable educational credential evaluator used to establish U.S. educational equivalency of college/university-level degrees. This type of report is usually sufficient when a degree is required for employment purposes.

What is an equivalency letter? ›

It attests to the instruction that a student received and not to any level of achievement or mastery of standards or content. The letter merely identifies that the student has met the compulsory education requirement for the state.

What is WES equivalency? ›

The WES evaluation converts educational credentials from any country in the world into their U.S. equivalents. It describes each certificate, diploma or degree that you have earned and states its academic equivalency in the United States.

Is the GED math test hard 2022? ›

The GED test is hard because it is very time-pressured. But if you prepare with good resources, the GED is quite easy. The GED test gives you limited time (from 70 to 150 minutes, depending on the subject) for around 35-40 questions per subject.

How to pass a GED test 2022? ›

Here are five key tips to set you up for success in preparing for and passing the GED:
  1. Learn What to Study. The GED is made up of four parts, testing your knowledge of reading, math, social studies, and science. ...
  2. Take Practice Tests. ...
  3. Study Consistently. ...
  4. Find a Preparation Program.
Oct 29, 2019

How many questions can you miss on the GED and still pass? ›

There is no exact number of questions you can miss and still pass, but, according to the GED Testing Service, you need approximately 60%-65% of your points to pass.

Can you pass the GED if you fail math? ›

In case you fail one of the four subject tests but attained relatively high scores on the other modules, so your overall score is 580 or more, you still do not pass the GED test. You'll be required to retake that failed subject test until you reach the passing score of 145.

What is the easiest way to pass GED math test? ›

Remember that through diligent study and preparation, you'll be well equipped to pass the GED math exam. Take practice tests, identify your weaker areas, and keep studying until you have a solid knowledge base. All of this knowledge will help you pass the exam and benefit you in your future career.

How can I pass my GED math easily? ›

10 Tips For the Math GED Test
  1. Take and Use Notes. ...
  2. Study On Your Mobile Device. ...
  3. Set Goals. ...
  4. Learn From Wrong Answers. ...
  5. Study Every Day. ...
  6. Read Questions Carefully. ...
  7. Eliminate Wrong Answers. ...
  8. Skip Hard Questions.
Jan 3, 2023


1. Grade 12 Redefined with the American GED Part 3
(Shaun Swartz)
2. What is a GED
(Aung Soe Moe)
3. Preparing Low Level Learners for the GED Test
4. What Is The Computer-Based GED Program?
(Unlimited GED Practice Tests)
5. The New Online Proctored GED Test Pilot
(Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education)
6. Illinois High School Equivalency Testing Updates - Forum for Excellence 2020
(IL Center for Specialized Professional Support)
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