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Louisiana GED test changing in January

FERRIDAY — Louisiana students and adults looking to receive an alternative credential to a high school diploma will soon take a different test than the one administered since 1942.

The GED, or General Educational Development, test has been administered in Louisiana for nearly seven decades.

Starting in January, however, Louisiana residents will take a different exam.

A division of Educational Testing Service — called HiSET — will start administering its own high school equivalency test on English, math, science and other areas.

One main reason for the change is because GED officials will soon offer computer-only tests.

Officials with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System said limiting the test to residents who are able to take the computer-only version could impact the number of potential graduates.

The state has nearly 600,000 residents age 18 and older who lack a high school diploma or equivalency credential.

Between 10,000 and 12,000 people take the test annually in Louisiana.

Locally, Concordia Parish residents take the high school equivalency test through the Central Louisiana Technical Community College Ferriday campus.

CLTCC adult education program manager Jeffrey Johnson said a benefit of the new test is that it will still be offered on paper.

“We wanted something where we still had the option to use paper,” Johnson said. “In general though as far as the students are concerned, the material and style of the test is very similar to what we’re doing now.

“I don’t see it being a huge change for people.”

Amy Riker, national director of HiSET, said officials in other states had similar worries about the move to computers-only by GED test officials.

“For them not to have access to further their lives to career or college, that was creating a real concern with all the different states,” she said.

Tennessee, Montana and New Hampshire also plan to start using the HiSET in January.

The new test will cover math, writing, social studies, science and reading and will also take roughly seven hours to complete.

The cost of the test will be nearly $90, which is the same as the current rate.

Retest costs, however, will vary on each location administering the test, Johnson said.

“The retakes used to be about $60, and we’ve heard it will be a lot less than that, so that’s going to be good for those who need to take certain parts over again,” Johnson said. “But if there’s anyone who is taking the current test and hasn’t passed a section, they need to pass it by January or they’re going to start all over.”

Apart from adjusting to the new test, Johnson said CLTCC is also working to expand its adult education program in Ferriday.

“We have about six or seven people in each class, and there are about two or three classes total, so we’re wanting to expand that,” Johnson said. “We want to get it up to where it’s at least three or four classes a week with 15 to 20 students each.”