A change in how the GED is scored this year means more than 500 South Carolinians have qualified to receive the high school equivalence diploma, according to state education officials.
The GED Testing Service announced a recalibration to the test passing score and the addition of two new performance levels. The changes lower the passing score for high school equivalency from 150 to 145. The GED program will also include two optional levels above high school equivalency to signify college readiness, and for some test-takers the opportunity to earn college credits. The company said the scoring changes are driven by a detailed analysis of educational outcomes of GED program graduates compared to high school graduates over the past 18 months.
The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) said 571 GED testers will be impacted. Each of them can now receive their South Carolina High School Equivalency Diploma. The GED Diplomas based on the new cut score will be dated December 31, 2015. It may take several weeks to perform the required technology updates in order for the new cut scores to be incorporated in the South Carolina Department of Education’s GED database. Many other GED testers may now be very close to passing the test.
These residents will have the opportunity to continue their education in postsecondary institutions and to increase the opportunity for employment. Since the GED Testing program started in the early 1940s, over 220,000 South Carolina residents have earned a high school diploma via the GED testing program.
The South Carolina GED administrator said that the number of citizens who earned GED credentials during 2014 and 2015 will increase from 3,512 to 4,083 with the implementation of the new GED cut scores. During 2015, South Carolina’s pass rate on the GED test was 77 percent. With the inclusion of the additional GED passers, the revised pass rate should be higher.
The passing score of the GED test will continue to be used to measure high school equivalency and to award a state’s GED credential. The two additional performance levels will be called GED College Ready, used to signify readiness to enter credit-bearing college courses; and GED College Ready + Credit, which may qualify students for up to 10 hours of college credit.