INDIANAPOLIS – The state of Indiana is ditching the long-favored GED test for a new, cheaper option offered by CTB/McGraw-Hill.
Scott Sanders, Indiana Department of Workforce Development commissioner, announced Wednesday that the state will contract with the company to provide a new high school equivalency assessment that will replace the current test starting in January.
We are really concerned about upping the rigor. We want it to be universally accepted by the military and employers, DWD spokesman Joseph Frank said.
The new test, which all Indiana providers will begin using in 2014, is called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC.
It will be aligned to college and career readiness standards over the next few years and will gradually increase in rigor to better meet industry demand.
Frank said Hoosier test-takers could save money, too. Thats because the cost of the GED test is scheduled to increase from $70 to $120 next year.
The expected cost of the new CTB/McGraw-Hill test is $55 the first year, with possible future increases. The contract, still being finalized, is expected to span six years.
CTB/McGraw Hills new test also meets another key priority for DWD because it will continue to be offered in both paper and computer-based formats.
Frank said the GED is moving to an all-online format next year, which would have affected half the states providers and many Indiana prisons.
New York became the first state to move to the TASC test from the GED.
Frank said 40 other states are in the process of reviewing or replacing the test.
The GED test, offered by the nonprofit American Council on Education, has been the only option available to states for years. The council joined with publishing giant Pearson PLC two years ago to form a new, for-profit company and update the test, making it tougher and in line with new academic standards being adopted by most states.
This move prompted other testing companies to enter the field.
Armando Diaz, spokesman for GED Testing Service, said the $120 price includes a bundle of services the company will now offer, including scoring, issuing credentials and data collection.
Previously, he said, the cost covered the test only.
We truly believe the testing program were developing in 2014 is comprehensive, he said.
Diaz also said the move to a solely computer-based format is necessary for giving adult learners the technological skills needed in todays workplace and society.
He said the national average on the GED test last year showed a 71 percent passing rate for tests taken on paper and an 88 percent passing rate by computer.
A panel of experts from the Indiana Department of Correction, the Indiana Department of Education and DWD were involved in evaluating all proposals offered, culminating in the selection of CTB/McGraw-Hill.
In addition, Ivy Tech and the Indiana Association of Continuing Education assessed the available testing options.
CTB/McGraw-Hill most recently drew sharp criticism after administering the states ISTEP+ exam earlier this year. Thousands of students experienced tests glitches and interruptions, and the Indiana Department of Education is seeking legal damages as a result.