GED testing for people across Kansas is moving online, under a new initiative of the Kansas Board of Regents, and Garden City Community College will serve this week as one of the first three computerized, online testing sites.
“We’re referring to this as our launch week, and we’re anxious to see how well everything works, since we’re one of the first places to pioneer the new approach,” said Kellee Munoz, accommodations coordinator and coordinator of the GCCC Assessment Center.
GED stands for “General Educational Development” and GED testing in Kansas takes place under authorization of the Regents, who also govern the state’s universities and coordinate the 19 Kansas community colleges. Successful completion of the five standard GED tests provides a credential equivalent to a Kansas high school diploma.
“In striving to provide more adult learners throughout the state with a high school credential and basic technology skills, the Kansas Board of Regents is partnering with GED Testing Service to offer the GED test on computer,” said Vanessa Lamoreaux, Regents associate director of communications.
Online registration and scheduling became available to test-takers in Kansas on Sept. 20 and testing will start Sept. 25. The three pilot locations include GCCC, Hutchinson Community College and Johnson County Community College, Overland Park.
The GCCC Assessment Center is located on campus in Saffell Library, and Munoz said the first computerized, online GED tests there are scheduled Sept. 27. Testing center hours include 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, as well as 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Assessment Center may be reached at 620-276-9638, but Southwest Kansans interested in GED testing and classes should contact the GCCC Adult Learning Center at 620-276-7600. The ALC, headquartered on the lower level of the GCCC Student and Community Services Center, offers classes year-round for immigrant and native adults preparing for the examinations.
“This is something we’ve been working toward for a long time,” Munoz said.
The American Council on Education is the sole developer of the GED test, which involves separate examinations in the areas of language arts and writing, social studies, reading, mathematics and science. Each state sets individual minimum standards for passing, and until now most testing across the U.S. has taken place in a traditional pencil-and-paper format.
“As society integrates technology into almost every facet of life, and the job market continues to be shaped by technology, adults will need basic technology skills to be successful,” said Randy Trask, president of GED Testing Service, which is providing the online exams. “Moving the GED test to computer helps adults demonstrate necessary basic technology skills and makes their testing process easier and more efficient.”
GED Testing Services, based in Washington, DC, is an affiliate of the American Council on Education and Pearson VUE, an international online testing organization. Organizers said computerized testing would offer a series of features, including:
“We are proud of every student who makes the commitment to improve their lives and education and employment options through obtaining a GED,” said Andy Tompkins, Regents president and CEO.
“The capacity to test on computer introduces new levels of flexibility, technology and service to students, which reflects our desire to make the GED accessible,” said Tompkins, who visited GCCC last week.
Plans call for the computerized tests to be offered statewide, after an initial period involving only GCCC, HCC and JCCC.
Online, computerized GED testing first became available to U.S. test takers in January, and so far 12,000 individuals have taken their exams through the new system. The Washington-based service has projected that half of the states in the U.S. will offer computerized, online testing by the end of 2012.
While traditional paper tests may eventually be eliminated, Munoz said they will remain an option for individuals at GCCC in the foreseeable future. The paper and computerized GED tests are the same, and anyone sitting for the exams must do so at an official GED testing center, such as the GCCC Assessment Center.