The GED exam will be harder in 2014, reports the Bay Area News Group. Maybe too hard. The new four-part test, which will be taken on computers, is aligned with Common Core’s college and career readiness expectations.
The new exams are designed to better prepare students for vocational training, college or careers by testing the skills employers are looking for now, said Armando Diaz, spokesman for the GED Testing Service.
There will be fewer multiple choice questions and more questions that “require test-takers to read longer passages and show understanding by defending opinions in short answers or essays.”
I wonder if the new test is too difficult. Here’s a sample social studies question for the 2014 exam:
Excerpt: “There would be an end to everything, were the same man, or the same body, whether of the nobles or of the people, to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals.”
Based on the excerpt, which important principle held by America’s founders did Montesquieu help shape?
A. Wider participation in government is essential to democracy.
B. Government will fail unless it performs a variety of functions.
C. Divisions of powers within government are necessary to prevent abuses.
D. Government power should be shared among the different classes of society.
(Option C is correct. The excerpt states the belief that concentrating all governmental power in one person or group would be very detrimental to a society.)
Only 12 percent of GED recipients go on to earn any other credential, GED officials say. They want the GED to be rigorous enough to be the first step to a vocational credential and a decent job. But it’s going to be a high step.
It’s possible to be stumped by Montesquieu but capable of learning how to weld, cut hair or drive a truck. The GED is most useful as a minimum qualifications, not as an indicator of college readiness. If it’s too hard, a lot of people will give up.