Horry County Schools Adult Education is giving Horry County residents another chance to finish their General Educational Development test, or GED, before a new GED test launches Jan. 2.
Testing will be held Saturday at the Myrtle Beach Family Learning Center, 3101 Oak St., next to Pepper Geddings Recreation Center in Myrtle Beach. Students can register online at www.GEDcomputer.com or www.edtheturtle.com.
Students who have passed any of the test’s five parts – writing, reading, social studies, science or mathematics – must pass the remaining parts before the end of the year, or they will have to start over next year and take all five parts of the new test, said Virginia Simmons, HCS Adult Education director.
“We’ve just had such a demand for the test,” said Simmons, adding that more than 100 GED tests were taken just last week, but more than 30,000 adults age 25 and older in Horry County still don’t have a high school credential.
The new test can be taken only on a computer so that students can demonstrate digital skills that are needed in the workplace, according to Armando Diaz with the GED Testing Service, which has launched a MyGED website at www.GED.com to provide more resources to help with the test and with identifying jobs. Students who take the computer test are passing at a rate nearly 15 percentage points higher than those who take paper-based tests, according to information from the testing service.
HCS Adult Education was one of the few school districts to pilot computerized GED testing and, in July 2012, became the first district in South Carolina to be certified by Pearson VUE to do computerized testing, not just for the GED, but for all of Pearson VUE’s tests, such as those needed to become a real estate agent, Simmons said.
“Since that time, we have been doing the computerized test and the pencil-paper test because the State Department of Education said we should continue using pencil and paper as long as we could,” said Simmons, who said the last pencil-paper GED test was given Dec. 14.
The paper-and-pencil method took about seven hours for a student to complete all five parts, and only about 40 to 60 students could be tested at once, with everyone having to begin and end at the same time, Simmons said.
Computerized testing offers flexibility, she said. Students can go online to see where and when testing is being held and register up to the night before they go to take the test, she said. More students also can be served since they can test at their own pace.
“The paper-and-pencil test was time-consuming and not customer friendly,” Simmons said. “With the computer, [students] can take one test or a full battery – it’s totally up to them. If they finish early, they’re finished. They don’t have to wait on the rest of the group and can leave or go on to the next test.”
HCS Adult Education has seen a dramatic increase in test-taking since it began to offer computerized GED testing, Simmons said. There were 309 GED test-takers from July 1 to Dec. 31 in 2012, but that number rose this year to 1,053 test-takers in almost the same period, from July 1 to Dec. 19.
The new GED test is completely different from the one given this year and is totally based on the new Common Core State Standards that are being implemented in the state’s schools, Simmons said. HCS Adult Education teachers have been using Common Core materials for more than a year and continue to have training, she said.
Simmons said HCS Adult Education has had in place a computer literacy test for skills they knew students would need for the new GED test - such as copy and paste, and drag and drop. Those who don’t pass have to take a computer class.
“People assumed older people were having difficulties, but it’s not the older people who aren’t passing,” she said. “How many people use Microsoft Word? Young people know how to use Facebook, Twitter and how to text, but they don’t know how to copy and paste. You don’t have to worry about that on social media, so those are the skills we have to teach them.”
HCS Adult Education will begin offering the new GED test Jan. 25, but Simmons said if there is a demand, it will be offered earlier.
“Call us if there is a reason it’s needed before then,” she said. “It’s way too simple for us not to do it.”
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.