It's Not About a Test, It's About the Adult Learner

My blog post below is a response to an article titled "Revamp GED Faces First Big Challenge," which ran in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 21, 2013.

Instead of focusing on the necessities of those who need a second chance, the article focused on the misgivings of "education officials" whose comments did not focus on what's at stake for adults, but on how difficult the challenge ahead will be. A closer look would suggest that the system has not "worked very, very, very well."

Currently, about one in five American adults do not have a high school diploma, and for all the decades of taxpayer support, we collectively serve less than 2 percent of them. And, like high schools across the country, admittedly in need of transformation, the current GED test is insufficient for the adults we do serve to achieve family-sustaining jobs or attend college programs.

K-12 is investing hundreds of millions to ensure that graduates are truly ready for college and careers, and virtually every state has endorsed some form of college- and career-readiness standards. Since 2009, the GED Testing Service started on the same path. We are investing years and millions to develop a test that not only certifies high school equivalency, but also indicates an adults' readiness for jobs and career and college training programs.

The article also appears to put the three test options on par with one another, but nothing could be further from the truth. The other test options are admittedly a rehash of our current test. States are being told that instructors can even use the same GED preparation materials that were developed using 1998 standards for these "new" tests. We have invested talent, resources and years developing a test that will give adults detailed information about their skills and abilities. This isn't about having a choice of providers, but rather a choice about the future of adult education and preparing adults to earn family sustaining wages.