By this time in 2014, all Iowans who take the GED to complete their high school education will be taking it on a computer. Three Iowa community colleges have launched a pilot project to test and implement the new technology.
Rick Carpenter, director of program development for the Des Moines Area Community College says 5 students were the first in Iowa to take the computerized GED tests. It happened a month ago, on December 3rd, at a D-MACC classroom in Des Moines.
“In the year’s past, we’ve been doing the tests just by paper, but we have transformed over to computer-based testing and for all new students who take the GED, it will be on the computer,” Carpenter says. Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs and Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa are joining D-MACC in the first wave of converting to computerized GED tests.
Classes for students who want to get a GED — which stands for General Education Degree — are held at the state’s 15 area community colleges and the tests are taken on the community college campuses. It takes up to 10 weeks for a student to find out if they’ve passed the GED when they take the paper exam.
Carpenter says there’s a much quicker turn-around for the computer exams. “The students instantly get their feedback results when it’s on computer-based testing,” Carpenter says. The state’s 15 area community colleges have been administering GED tests since 1966.
The GED test was first devised in 1942 to help returning World War II veterans finish high school, without having to go back to classes inside a high school. Five years later the state of New York began offering the GED as an alternative method of earning a high school education.
In 2009, 99 percent of the Iowans who took the GED exams passed and almost 4,000 adults earned an Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma.