A new brief from the Working Poor Families Project provides an overview of the current GED landscape, outlines the changes coming in 2014, and explores some of the alternatives to attaining a high school equivalency diploma offered by many states. If you need a primer on this issue, this document is one of the most useful I’ve seen.
Increasingly, I think what states need to prepare for is not so much the new GED, but a new high school equivalency diploma landscape in which the GED is one of several exams available to states. The report concludes that “at least for most states… the GED test will continue to be an important part of the adult high school equivalency market” which is true, but what this statement implicitly acknowledges is that the GED Testing Service will not be the only player in that market. My understanding is that there will be at least two other major players entering this market.
When that happens, the benefits provided by the GED’s role as a de facto national H.S. equivalency exam will largely go away. For example, right now, because the GED is recognized everywhere, students are able to begin the GED in one state and finish it in another, but once the GED is no longer offered in every state, that benefit goes away.