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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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GED exam to become computer-only

TAMPA - If you're planning to take the GED test after the first of the year, forget about doing it with pencil and paper. Beginning in January, the new version of the high school equivalency examination is going digital. "Going to a computer version makes sense," said Sandra Vogel, guidance counselor for adult education in Pasco County and a chief GED examiner. "It is a necessary part of our lives." Carolyn Allen, the supervisor of Pasco's adult education programs, agrees.
"If we set our goal to help adults become employable and help them go into the work force, then we absolutely need to make them computer-literate," Allen said. Marc Hutek, director for adult education in the Hillsborough County school district, doesn't think the switch to computer-based testing will be a giant challenge even for older students. "I don't see that being an issue," he said. After all, Hutek explained, most people have an exposure to some type of high-tech device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Florida has been offering a computerized version of the GED test at 17 sites across the state, none of which is in the Tampa Bay area. Officials say scores have been higher on the electronic version. "As an experienced teacher, I can say that I am extremely pleased with the computer test," Linda McClelland, professor of the Pathways High School Equivalency Program at Florida State College at Jacksonville, said in a news release. "Last term, I sent almost all of my students to test on the computer, and the scores were unbelievable," McClelland added. "These are some of the highest scores I have seen in my 20 years of teaching in adult education." This is the first overhaul of Florida's GED test in more than a decade. Those in the adult education field say students taking the 2014 version may find it to be tougher as it will be aligned with stiffer state and national educational standards. "With the new test, the standards have been raised," Allen said. "The line more appropriately reflects what high school students are expected to master." The cost of the new test will be $130. It currently is $70. Students who have passed only portions of the five subject areas have until the end of the year to complete the test, or they must start over in January. "Our tests are filling up much faster," Vogel said.

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