With a focus on real-world applicability, the forthcoming new GED test is designed to improve students’ college and career readiness. But some critics worry that the cost will limit access for those who most need it.
Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor
An estimated 40 million US adults have not finished high school.
Every year, about 800,000 people take GED tests, and more than 400,000 succeed in earning the GED, a high school equivalency credential that's recognized in all 50 states.
But "the value of the GED is in question," says Jonathan Zaff, director of the Center for Promise, a research center based at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., and sponsored by America's Promise Alliance, a youth-advocacy coalition.
Some research finds that, economically, GED-holders tend to fare about as well as high school dropouts with no GED, Mr. Zaff says. That may be one reason the GED is undergoing a transformation – the biggest in its 70-year history. And it's stirring up controversy along the way.