ATHENS — The beginning of 2014 brought big changes to the GED high school equivalency test that have streamlined the process and made it more user-friendly for test-takers.
Among the most notable changes – the test will now be administered on a computer rather than on paper.
Gail St. Clair, director of the Trinity Valley Community College Testing Center in Athens, said the college voluntarily began the transition from paper-based to computer-based testing last May, with the first tests administered in July of 2013.
So far, the reactions have been positive based on a feedback survey submitted from several test-takers. TVCC received a 98.8 percent satisfaction rating for tests administered under the new system over the final six months of 2013. One of the examinees commented, “Everyone was so nice. I felt very assured on where to go and what to do.”
“Testing is already stressful enough,” St. Clair said. “We always work really hard to make it a more user-friendly experience. We still have to maintain rules and regulations, but we like the process to be as stress-free as possible.”
St. Clair said there are multiple benefits to the computer-based testing.
Test-takers are now able to get results within 24-48 hours, whereas the paper-based GED exam required a two- to three-week wait for scores to be tabulated.
Registration for the GED is no longer a testing center task. The previous registration process required test-takers to drive to a testing center to register.
“In the past, many of our examinees traveled 30 to 60 minutes or more to register and then returned a week later to take the exam. I believe the examinees like the convenience of the 800-number or website rather than having to come to the testing center to register,” St. Clair said.
Examinees have more control over the dates and times they wish to test. The new online registration process allows test-takers to choose when and where they wish to test.
Also, St. Clair added, test-takers can now schedule the GED at his or her own pace. It is individualized testing now. If the examinee finishes one content area, he or she can immediately begin the next subtest without having to wait for the entire group to complete a test as was the case with paper/pencil testing.
“With the paper-and-pencil test, we were required to close the Testing Center when administering the GED exam,” St. Clair said. “Sometimes that would have to happen at critical times, and it really made it tough for students and faculty.
“Now, the computer-based GED enables us to keep the center open for TVCC internet course testing, placement testing, CLEP, etc. while giving the GED,” she added. “Since we can remain open while giving the GED, we are able to offer the GED more days — enabling us to test up to 100 examinees per month rather than 30 per month in the past.”
Teresa Guillory, a testing specialist at the TVCC Testing Center, also noted that test-takers now have the flexibility to pay for one section of the test at a time, rather than having to pay for all sections at one time.
TVCC has seen a jump in the number of tests given since the changes were put in place. St. Clair said 426 tests were administered from Sept. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2012. During that same period in 2013, the number of tests administered rose to 631.
The Testing Center administers the GED exam most Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more information or to register for the GED exam, go to www.GED.com or call 877-392-6433. For questions about the free GED preparation classes, contact Adult Education at 903-675-6398. To contact the Testing Center, call 903-675-6385.