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States Exploring Alternatives to the GED

Not long ago, we told you about a major redesign of the GED. It's being reworked to reflect the Common Core State Standards and to indicate achievement that signifies not only high school equivalency, but also college readiness. More than a few states, however, are concerned about the new GED and are looking for alternatives.

According to a report from the Associated Press, several dozen states are part of a working group that's exploring GED alternatives. Being on a working group, mind you, doesn't necessarily mean you're going to bail on the GED. But it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out that those states have enough misgivings that they're investigating other options.

We've already had one major defection from the GED: New York state announced recently that it is using hired CTB/McGraw Hill for GED-like testing. Cost was one of the drivers behind that decision; state officials had said the new GED would be more expensive for test-takers. And since GED test-takers in general aren't the wealthiest of folks, that's a big concern.

Another concern, though, had to do with Pearson. Merryl H. Tisch, the chairwoman of the state board of regents, recently called out the big publisher by name in an appearance at the Manhattan Institute. She said that in offering free online curriculum for the common core, New York state was "bucking the monopoly called Pearson." On the phone later, she told me that those sentiments apply, as well, to the state's decision to cut ties with the GED, which is produced by a partnership of Pearson and the American Council on Education.

Our staff will have an in-depth story exploring the big changes on the GED landscape in our annual Diplomas Count issue in June, so stay tuned for more from us.

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