Ahead of the debut of the 2014 GED Test, which will be available only on computer, 22 states are already offering a computerized version of the GED exam, according to a news release issued by the GED Testing Service Thursday.
(CORRECTION 08/27/12: A previous version of this blog entry gave an incorrect title of the exam. The "2014 GED Test" is the exam's formal title, and refers to the exam given to students studying for states general educational development diploma.)
Since the option was made available in January, more than 8,700 GED tests have been completed on a computer. That's important, the release says, both because it helps test-takers demonstrate technology skills and helps GED instructors and students grow accustomed to the computerized version before it becomes the only option available in January of 2014.
The exam is not given online, but instead on an offline computer at a live testing site with a proctor present. The computerized version does give GED students more flexibility in scheduling the exam, online and toll-free telephone registration, and instant (if unofficial) feedback on performance, the release claims.
While it's debatable whether completing an exam on a computer necessarily demonstrates the same technological skills needed to succeed in the workforce, the increased scheduling flexibility and instant feedback are probably more valuable for GED students than most, since many are squeezing their studies between work and family commitments.
Proponents of online credit recovery in K-12 schools also push similar flexibility benefits of online courses over traditional credit-recovery options, though skeptics say online credit recovery's popularity is due more to low costs for schools and a lack of enthusiasm for educators to teach credit-recovery students.
One other note: of the 22 states so far offering the computerized test, nine come from member states of the 16-state Southern Regional Education Board. The SREB is thought to be the most progressive of such regional education agencies in terms of pushing online learning in its member states, and is the co-sponsor of the now three-year-old National Online Teacher of the Year award.