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GED testing is online at CCHE

Staff report


Earning a General Education Diploma (GED) may seem to be a daunting task, especially with the new online testing. Cook County Higher Education’s Educational Assistant Kelsey Kennedy can help students maneuver through the process. 
Photo courtesy of Cook County Higher Education Earning a General Education Diploma (GED) may seem to be a daunting task, especially with the new online testing. Cook County Higher Education’s Educational Assistant Kelsey Kennedy can help students maneuver through the process. Photo courtesy of Cook County Higher Education Adults lacking a high school diploma can face challenges in the employment market. Research claims that someone with a high school credential will earn $568,000 more in a lifetime than someone without a high school credential.

If you do not have a high school diploma, one solution is to take four exams and earn your high school equivalency General Education Diploma, otherwise known as earning your GED. GED tests in four subject areas: Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning Through Language Arts. After passing the GED test, a diploma or credential is issued by Minnesota, which can be used when applying for college, start training, or get a better job.

Until recently GED tests were administered with paper and pencil exams and it took a minimum of two weeks to obtain test results. As of January 1, GED testing went online.

The good news: you get your results immediately for almost all the tests. The bad news: it costs more, and partially completed GED tests did not transfer into 2014. “As 2013 came to a close, Cook County GED students scrambled to complete testing before the new online testing requirements went into place,” said Paula Sundet Wolf of Cook County Higher Education (CCHE).

Cook County Higher Education is in charge of the GED testing process for the North Shore. Testing was previously done through Cook County Community Education at ISD 166, but was passed to CCHE in 2010.

Thanks to a grant through the Cook County Community Fund, CCHE has been helping GED students prepare for the online transition. Preparation includes mentor services to help with specific test subjects such as writing and study skills, and taking online GED practice tests. Adult Basic Education (ABE) is a partner organizations for test preparation. ABE provides coaching and pre-test services for each test topic.

Online GED testing looks a little different than the paper version, but the content is largely the same. Some people claim that the online version is harder, others say it is easier. The new online format not only requires students be computer literate, but also includes new college readiness and critical thinking skills components. As a result, the new test requires increased preparation for GED test candidates.

Sundet Wolf has spoken with several test administrators, and they all claim that the online practice tests appear to be harder than the actual tests. Sundet Wolf said, “Some of the challenges with the practice tests apparently have to do with the individual’s comfort using a computer, so the more you study for and take practice tests, the more likely you are to succeed.”

“It is important to have GED testing available in our community,” said Sundet Wolf. On the economic front, most employers now require employees to have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. In addition, a federal policy was implemented in 2012 that requires students to hold a high school diploma or equivalent if seeking financial aid for college certificate or degree programs.

CCHE tests an average of 10 GED students annually, and many of those individuals would not have been able to take the test if it had not been offered locally.

The GED online test is administered via Pearson Vue, and as of May 1, CCHE will be one of their test center locations. Sundet Wolf added, “This is particularly good news for North Shore residents because not only does this make GED tests available locally, but also the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations, Minnesota Nurse Aides & Home Health Aides, Cisco Certification, and many other certification tests.”

Sundet Wolf said, “Preparing CCHE as an online test center was a big process – bigger than expected! CCHE could not have managed the process without the Cook County Community Foundation grant support and volunteer technology support.”

Information about Pearson Vue testing is available at http://www.pearsonvue.com/. Information specific to the online GED tests, in particular test preparation, is available at https://ged.com/.

Anyone who would like more information about online testing services is encouraged to contact CCHE at 218-387- 3411. You are also welcome to stop in and visit us at the North Shore Campus located at 300 W. 3rd Street in Grand Marais.


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