, Muskogee, OK

August 25, 2013

GED will change in 2014

Test moves to computer, content to change and cost to increase

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— People who have not completed their GED should plan to finish it by Dec. 31 or they face having to take it over again, officials said.

Those who have taken the 2002 Series General Education Development test, but not passed all five parts have until the end of 2013 to pass the complete series and receive their high school credential, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

If this does not happen by the end of 2013, test-takers will lose any passing scores and will have to start over with the new 2014 GED test series in order to receive their high school credential.

For some, that means wasted money, time and effort, said a 30-year GED teacher, Alexis Nelson of Muskogee.

“It’s always been start all over,” Nelson said. “When they changed the test in 1988, anyone that hadn’t completed all five parts had to start over again. When it happened in 2001, we kept warning people then, too.”

The test goes from a paper exam to fully computerized in 2014, as well, and goes from five components to pass to four, said Nanette Robertson, executive director of Eastern Workforce Investment Board.

Because of the format change, the test will no longer be hosted by Muskogee Public Schools, she said.

“Our Workforce center will be doing the testing beginning in January,” Robertson said. “And we want to make people aware, so if they haven’t completed it yet, they’ll get it done before the end of the year.”

The four subject areas that will be tested beginning in January are reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, science and social studies. An ODE spokeswoman said the biggest changes come in the rigor of the writing expectations, the level of complexity of the reading content and the depth of knowledge required of test-takers to pass the test.

Nelson said the GED test has existed since 1942, to serve soldiers who’d quit school to join up for World War II and wanted to come home and use the GI bill for college.

“They used the same test until 1988, when they brought in the essay portion,” Nelson said. “They first gave the essay portion in New York City, and at first people just went somewhere else to test so they didn’t have to write the essay. Then they all got the essay portion.”

Before the essay, people usually got their GED test results the same day, because the test was all multiple choice and quickly graded, she said.

Now, the essay portion is sent out to be graded, and it can take a couple of weeks to get results.

“Then in December 2001, they changed the test again, so they’re changing it about every 13 years,” she said. “And we heard all kinds of rumors about what the test was going to be then. We heard there was going to be trigonometry on the test and all kinds of things. But it didn’t happen that way.”

Additional information about completing the 2002 Series GED test can be found at  

The GED test has opened doors to better jobs and college programs for more than 18 million graduates since 1942, according to the media release.

Last year, nearly 800,000 adults sat for the GED test, which is accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and employers.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or