Should we be concerned about lowered standards for the GED?

Recently, the GED Testing Service loweredthe requiredscore to pass the GED, from 150 to 145 (on a scale from 100 to 200)*

According to the cites above, the GED recently became more difficult to agree with the Common Core standards. Consequently, as is not too surprising, fewer people were passing the new test. Again, not too surprisingly, this led to fewer people taking the test in the first place.

The testing service claims that they found that certain persons in this score range nonetheless were able to be admitted to college and be successful, and that lowering the score will allow more people to be admitted to college and/or get a promotion/raise for having a diploma. Cynically, I wonder if they were more motivated by the fewer number of people paying to take the harder test and are trying to encourage sales by making the test easier.

I’m not terribly pleased with the idea. If the diploma becomes easier to get, surely the worth of the diploma to colleges and employers will likewise decrease, causing people that passed under the old system to have their diploma devalued. Also, having stricter standards means college wouldn’t have to offer as many, if any, remedial courses, saving students money in the long term by lowering the amount of tuition they need to pay to graduate (since they’ll be taking the required courses only, since they are prepared for those courses and don’t need to spend extra tuition on remedial courses).

I see it as a money-grab by the testing service and possibly by colleges catering to students that simply aren’t ready for secondary education. The end result is the further devaluing of high school and college degrees and putting our most vulnerable members of society further into debt via student loans.

Of course, I’m not an educator by trade (I’m pretty sure those 5 semesters I spend as a TA in undergrad and grad school don’t count, even if I did end up explaining the concepts when the professor didn’t) so I’m open to debate. Good move, bad move, ultimately neutral?

  • I’m going to say now that test scores that don’t start at zero and end at 100 annoy me, because you might as well make it a percent, and arbitrarily having the score start above 0 makes little sense to me. However, that’s a bit outside the scope of the thread.

Passing the GED means that one should have an equivalent education to a typical high school graduate. It appears that passing it now means that one has a better education.

I don’t see how changing the passing score in order to better reflect what education a high school graduate has devalues anything.

This seems like a normal adjustment to me.

They introduced a new, more difficult test two years ago. They’ve had time to analyze the data, and are finding that students passing the GRE are performing better than high school graduates, indicating that the test is being scored a bit too high for the purpose of high school equivalency.

If you want to have some other test to measure some higher standard, go for it. But it’s not unreasonable for a high school equivalency test to aim for high school equivalency.

Also note that there are apparently two other tests for students to choose from, both of which are accurately pegged to high school equivalency.

So the decline in people taking the GRE isn’t necessarily due to woefully unprepared people with no chance of passing. Taking the other test is the most rational option for any student right now. Who would take a harder, riskier test that provides no additional benefits?

Why should the GRE be doomed to irrelevancy because their analysts two years ago didn’t pick the right number?