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Springville Journal letter to the editor: Clarifying the GED test

Editor:
I am writing to clarify something, for those of us who work and live in New York.

First, the GED is a test, like the ACT and the SAT are tests. For years and years, people have said they are getting their GED. This has been an accepted statement, since they were the essential test, determining high school equivalency.

This began, back in the time when young men were in the war and did not have a chance to finish their high school education, before leaving for duty. The GED was the test used, so that a state could issue a diploma, based on a benchmark. The GED is only a test. It is not a diploma.

It never was the only way, but it was the most common way to be tested, to receive a high school equivalency. Now, applications have a line – or two lines – regarding the GED. Many applications say high school diploma or GED. Some students receive neither and therefore are not counted as having received the necessary education, to go forward. Many others will be assessed by another test, the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) and others, beginning next year.

Those filling out a job application, looking for work or a college application, wishing to continue their education, will be at a serious disadvantage, since they will not be able to fill out the application properly and may be discriminated against, even though they have achieved the benchmark.

There needs to be a national campaign, to retell the story. People do not receive a GED. People passed the GED and received a high school equivalency diploma.

People take many pathways, to receive this high school equivalency. Some have gone to college and have received the high school equivalency, after passing certain first-year classes. Others have gone through the National External Diploma Program and have been awarded a high school equivalency. Still others have achieved college degrees or trade certificates that have not received a high school equivalency.

It is limiting to simply say diploma/GED on an application, and employers, colleges and the general public needs to be aware that the name is misleading.

Just like not every tissue is a Kleenex® and not every phone company is Bell Telephone, not every test to receive a diploma is the GED.

On the other side of this issue, thank you very much for the stern reminder, for those who have begun this process in the current setting, to complete it before the end of the year, since the scores will not carry over.

Those who have passed part of the test should be working to pass the rest of the test, in order to be awarded a New York state high school equivalency diploma.

The website for New York state testers is www.acces.nysed.gov/ged.

Bethany Ruane
Adult Literacy Team leader
Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES
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