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September 17, 2013

GED test to change in January

Local officials learning about replacement test while former test is still available.

The state’s new high school equivalency test will be based on Common Core State Standards and will likely require more critical thinking skills, local officials learned recently.

In August, the state announced it was opting out of the GED program and was, instead, contracting with CTB/McGraw Hill to launch its own exam called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion.

At the time, officials knew very little about the new assessment because state officials were being tight lipped about the whole thing.

Since then, the state has been releasing bits of information each week in webinars for adult educators.

Brandy Mullins, director of Cass-Logan Educational Attainment Resource, (CLEAR), an adult education center, has watched three webinars and has another to watch Friday. Mullins, who succeeds Tami McMahan, became director of CLEAR in August.

Although the test is changing, the times, basis of the classes will be the same, Mullins said. Materials used to teach will change to adhere to the new test.

Marsha Berry, director of education at the Literacy Coalition of Howard County, has a better idea now of what the exam will look like, at least next year. The test will change every year for three years as it increases in rigor, Berry said.

The exam uses content from the Common Core State Standards — even though the Indiana Legislature is debating right now whether to teach the Common Core in its public schools.

This change is forcing the literacy coalition to retrain its tutors.

“We’ll help them change the way they’re teaching so they’re teaching to the standards,” Berry said. “We will need to tailor our instruction in a different manner.”

At least one thing will remain the same.

Just like the GED, the new test will have five components — reading, writing, math, social studies and science.

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