Reasoning through language arts
In alignment with career- and college-readiness standards, the GED® RLA assessment focuses on three essential groupings of skills:
- The ability to read closely
- The ability to write clearly
- The ability to edit and understand the use of standard written English in context
Because the strongest predictor of career and college readiness is the ability to read and comprehend complex texts, especially nonfiction, the RLA Test includes texts from both academic and workplace contexts. These texts reflect a range of complexity levels, in terms of ideas, syntax and style. The writing tasks, or Extended Response (ER) items, require test-takers to analyze given source texts and use evidence drawn from the text(s) to support their answers.
Given these priorities, the GED® RLA Test adheres to the following parameters:
- Seventy-five percent of the texts in the exam are informational texts (including nonfiction drawn from the science and the social studies as well as a range of texts from workplace contexts); 25 percent are literature.
- The texts included in the test cover a range of text complexity, including texts at the career- and college-readiness level.
- For texts in which comprehension hinges on vocabulary, the focus is on understanding words that appear frequently in texts from a wide variety of disciplines and, by their definition, are not unique to a particular discipline.
- U.S. founding documents and the “the Great American Conversation” that followed are required texts for study and assessment.
- The length of the texts included in the reading comprehension component of the test vary between 450 and 900 words.
- Roughly 80 percent of the items are written to a Depth of Knowledge cognitive complexity level 2 or higher.
- Reading and writing standards, such as those found in the Common Core State Standards, will also be measured in the GED® Social Studies Test, and the reading standards will be measured in the GED® Science Test.
READING COMPREHENSION ON THE GED® RLA TEST
The reading comprehension component of the GED® RLA Test is intended to measure two overarching reading standards that appear in the Common Core State Standards as Anchor Reading Standards 1 and 10, respectively:
- Determine the details of what is explicitly stated and make logical inferences or valid claims that square with textual evidence
- Read and respond to questions from a range of texts that are from the upper levels of complexity, including texts at the career- and college-ready level of text complexity.
These two high-level standards broadly govern all aspects of passage selection and item development in the reading comprehension component of the GED® RLA Test. As candidates are asked to determine the main idea, the point of view, the meaning of words and phrases, and other inferences and claims, they are asked to do so based on texts that span a range of complexity, including texts at the career- and college-readiness level.
WRITING ON THE GED® RLA TEST
The writing component integrates reading and writing into meaningful tasks that require candidates to support their written analysis with evidence drawn from a given source text(s) of appropriate complexity provided in the test. Also, given the growing demand and use of technology in all levels of postsecondary education and careers, the GED® test is administered by computer. Therefore, as in the reading component of the RLA Test, the following two high-level standards, which correspond with Common Core Anchor Standards 9 and 6 respectively, broadly govern all aspects of the writing tasks.
- Draw relevant and sufficient evidence from a literary or information text to support analysis and reflection.
- Use technology to produce writing, demonstrating sufficient command of keyboarding skills.
Candidate responses are scored by a multi-trait rubric that focuses on three elements:
- Trait 1: Analysis of Arguments and Use of Evidence
- Trait 2: Development of Ideas and Structure
- Trait 3: Clarity and Command of Standard English
LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS AND USAGE ON THE GED® RLA TEST
The language component of the GED® RLA Test measures a candidate’s ability to demonstrate command of a foundational set of conventions of standard English that have been identified as most important for career- and college-readiness by higher education instructors of post-secondary entry-level, credit-bearing composition courses. This core set of skills includes essential components of grammar, usage, capitalization and punctuation.
The GED® RLA Test includes editing items in an authentic context in which highlighted words or phrases appear in dropdown menus offering alternatives, which include a clear best choice alongside common errors or misconceptions.