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Kentucky Improves GED Pass Rate Under New Exam

school classroom
Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons
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Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

The passing rate for Kentuckians taking the GED has improved since the national high school equivalency exam underwent changes in 2014, according to Kentucky Adult Education officials.

The test is now more aligned with the Common Core standards that Kentucky and many other states have adopted which are meant to better prepare students for college and career, officials said.

When the changes went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, in many states, it meant fewer people would take and pass the GED. The changes also coincided with the new computer-only format and an increase in price-twice the amount the test previously cost.

While fewer students are actually taking the GED exam in Kentucky and other states, the state's passing rate increased from 78 percent to 84 percent, said Reecie Stagnolia, vice president for Kentucky Adult Education.

The state's GED pass rate is also higher than the national average, partly because Kentucky requires students to pass a practice test first.

“It’s a good predictor of the likelihood of success for our students, rather than taking the test without any understanding of where they are in terms of preparation," said Stagnolia.

GED Testing Service said the final passing rate numbers will be ready in a couple of weeks.

The state's GED efforts are also bolstered by public television.

“We started in the '70s broadcasting an instructional television series, 'GED on TV'," said Tonya Crum, director of Adult Education & Workforce Training at KET.

Since that series aired, it has been updated whenever the GED test changes, said Crum.

The most recent series that aired on TV was in 2002 and the latest resource that KET has created for the recent changes to the GED exam is called Fast Forward. It's a computer-based program to fit the test's exam format.

KET is also feeding other PBS stations adult education content through the PBS Learning Media, a national repository fed by affiliate stations across the country, said Crum.

“If you’re in the PBS system and you want to know about adult ed, how to create a partnership with your state agency, KET is where they come to find their answers," she said.