Measures literacy and computational skills compared to most high school graduates.
The Tests of General Education Development are a battery of tests designed to measure an individuar s literacy and computational skills against those of most high school graduates, and a requirement for a General Equivalency Degree. The GED test was first developed in 1942 to help veterans who hadn't finished high school. Today about 800,000 people, mostly civilians, take the test each year and roughly 70% pass. The GED is offered at special
testing centers throughout the United States, and each state sets its own standard for passing, although a passing grade is generally supposed to indicate that an individual's skills are equivalent to those of the upper two-thirds of the students currently graduating from American high schools. The American Council on Education, which sponsors the tests, stresses that they are geared toward broad concepts and general knowledge rather than memorization of precise facts and definitions to avoid penalizing those who have been out of school for a while. The latest version of the GED was introduced in 1988. It consists of five parts containing five-item multiple-choice questions (except for an essay section that is new in this version of the test). The Writing Skills test consists of a grammar section and the writing sample, a 200-word essay on an assigned topic. The Social Studies section covers history, economics, political science, geography, and behavioral science. The Science section is equally divided between life and physical science. A section on Interpreting Literature and the Arts (formerly Reading) consists of questions on both popular literature and on 19th- and 20th-century classics. Half the questions on the Mathematics test are on arithmetic while the other half covers algebra and geometry. GED test results are converted from raw scores to standard scores ranging from 20 to 80 for each test. To pass the GED in most states, an individual must get a minimum total standard score of 225 on all five tests with no score under 35 on any single test. Persons who fail one or more of the tests can retake only those sections for a passing score.
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