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After First Year of New Test, GED Diplomas Drop By 77 percent

Michael Surran
Wikimedia Commons

There was a 77 percent drop in the number of GED diplomas issued in Kentucky, over the course of the fiscal year that ended on June 30th. 

The decline came after a more rigorous version of the test was introduced the previous year, requiring higher-level math, science and computer skills.  

Final numbers show that there were 1,663 GED diplomas awarded in the 2015 fiscal year, that’s down 77 percent from 7,083 in the year before.  Adult education officials expect the numbers to increase slightly to a “new normal” rate, but say the number of diplomas issued likely won’t return to levels experienced in previous years. 

ReecieStagnolia, who’s the vice president for adult education in Kentucky, argues that the pipeline of would-be test takers is depleted because the state has already graduated the so-called “low hanging fruit” in recent years.

“What we’re really left with are those most educationally and economically disadvantaged,” said Stagnolia. 

Rep. Derrick Graham, Chairman of the House Education Committee, says he’s worried the new test is leaving some Kentuckians behind. 

“I don’t want us to lesser the standards but at the same time we’ve got to find alternative methods by which to make people employable if they’re unable to attain a GED.” 

The overhaul of the GED began in 2011 when for-profit testing company?Pearson bought into the program.  

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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