ProLiteracy White Paper: the New GED Test and Implications for Adult Literacy

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Adult literacy and basic education programs face core challenges with launch of new test

Already there are 3 million unfilled U.S. jobs every month because our workforce lacks the skills and credentials to fill them.

ProLiteracy and its publishing division New Readers Press today released their latest white paper, The 2014 GED® Test and Its Impact on Adult Literacy Providers. The white paper addresses the core challenges adult literacy and basic education programs face in trying to prepare students for the new test, which launches in January 2014.

The report notes that, as a result of more rigorous assessment targets and the computerization of the GED test, programs and providers must search for creative ways to build infrastructure and adapt curricula or risk being unable to prepare students for taking the new test.

"Because the test will be delivered exclusively on computers, adult literacy providers must integrate digital literacy into their programs to prepare learners for testing,” says Terrie Lipke, editorial director at ProLiteracy and one of the paper’s co-authors. “At the same time, programs are struggling to afford new materials to address the content changes. With already stretched budgets, many of them will find it even more difficult to serve the hundreds of thousands of adult learners who wish to prepare and pass the new GED test.”

The white paper, therefore, encourages investments in adult literacy providers to ensure “supply” can meet “demand.” Some 39 million Americans don’t have a high school diploma, and the current GED testing program reaches just two percent of this population. Yet recent research indicates that by 2018, one million new jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four year degree will be available.

"In fact, already there are 3 million unfilled U.S. jobs every month because our workforce lacks the skills and credentials to fill them,” according to Lipke. "This shows the real need for investing in providers who can adequately prepare adult learners to take and pass the GED test or other high school equivalency test, in order to keep pace with the very real needs of the 21st century workplace."

The white paper reviews the history of the GED test and the work that went into the launch of the new test. It also urges adult literacy providers to make their voices heard on issues related to the GED test to make a difference in future design, policy, funding, and recommendations.

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Amy Schmitz
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