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The End of the GED

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

It happened without a lot of fanfare.  As of January 1, 2014, New York State stopped administering the GED  (General Education Development test).  This well-known acronym was synonymous with High School Equivalency (HSE) for decades, so why the sudden change?  And what does this mean for all of the people who have spent significant time (and money) preparing for it?

As the director of The Tutoring School, I am asked to coordinate tutors for a number of standardized tests, including those for high school equivalency.  So when I found out this past December that New York would no longer administer the GED but would replace it with a new test called the TASC, I was left scratching my head.  What’s the TASC?  And, more importantly, what will be on it?

Those who had previously prepared for the GED were briefly stumped by this new test, as there were few resources that discussed the content of the TASC.  The first test prep book was published in February 2014, more than a month after the test was rolled out.  The official TASC website referred vaguely to future plans to tie in more with Common Core standards, but did not address the structure of the test upon its release.

What I discovered (after lots of digging) was encouraging.  In practicality, the TASC is currently indistinguishable from the GED of 2013.  There are tests in the same six areas (social studies, science, mathematics, reading, and writing); the level of difficulty is roughly the same; the timing is similar; and the state guidelines (which had always been different from state to state) are the same.

Why the sudden change?  Pearson, who has a big stake in the new GED, made some drastic changes to the price and implementation of the test that ultimately would have cost examinees and the state a lot of money.  Does it make any difference to those who had studied for the GED?  Thankfully, it doesn’t appear to be.  As Shakespeare might have said, “A test by any other name…is still a test.”