Computer Test Poses Hurdle for Texans Seeking High School Equivalency Certificate

Advocates and teachers argue that a more expensive, computer-based test puts low-income students at a disadvantage.

by News Staff / July 15, 2015 0
Computer-based tests can be difficult and expensive for low-income people who want to earn a high school equivalency certificate. Michael Surran, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A new General Education Development (GED) test throws up another barrier for low-income adults in Texas who want to earn their high school equivalency certificate, advocates say.

Last year, the old paper test was updated to a digital one that's harder, more expensive and requires computer skills that not every low-income person has. The new Pearson test now costs $135, a $55 increase, reports The Texas Tribune.

Just under a third of people passed the online test, while 60 percent passed the previous test. And the number of test takers went down 7 percent from about 50,000 in 2012 to nearly 47,000 in 2014.

GED instructors and advocates say the change isn't fair to students because it requires higher-level math skills that they won't need in the type of entry-level jobs that only require a GED. On top of that, many of them are not comfortable with computers, so the theory is that they may not do as well on the test.

The State Board of Education will consider whether to ofer alternative testing options in a meeting Wednesday, July 15.