Another change will be with the way the test is scored. The current test is pass-fail, but soon the scoring will sort test-takers into levels of college- and career-readiness. That change is intended to help GED takers avoid paying for remedial noncredit courses required by some schools.
JoAnn Weinberger, president and executive director of Philadelphia-based Center for Literacy, Inc., said that the test's digital shift will naturally create a problem for older participants less familiar with the technology, but she noted that plenty of 16-year-olds don't have adequate computer skills, either.
"Some may be able to send a text message," said Weinberger, "but that doesn't mean that they have sufficient computer skills."
For many, getting help preparing for the seven-hour test is half the battle, since spots in programs are limited.
There are a few free test-prep sites in Philadelphia, but they are in high demand. "As of last week, we had about 1,000 people on the wait list," Weinberger said.
"Most people end up studying on their own, finding something online, or they don't prepare," said C.T. Turner, spokesman for GED Testing Service. Turner believes that the creation of mobile apps to reach more test-takers could solve the problem.
Judith Reyni, executive director of Mayor Nutter's Commission on Literacy, hopes to do just that. She's got a plan to incorporate cloud-based software that can support digital literacy without the necessity of a desktop.
"It's all going mobile, so let's go mobile with it," Reyni said.
Contact Haley Kmetz at email@example.com or 215-854-5926.