GED® Score Change FAQs for Educators

I heard that the GED® performance levels and passing score are changing. What are the new levels and cut scores?

The new GED® test performance levels are:

When do the changes take effect?
The scoring enhancements are effective immediately. However, it will take some time before the change can be implemented in state and GED Testing Service systems (transcripts, diplomas, state and federal data reporting systems). GED® students and educators can expect to see the new score levels reflected in systems starting on March 1. As state systems vary, some students may have access to their new transcript and diploma just a few days after March 1, but some may not have access for a few weeks. Until then, students will continue to see the old score levels (150 and 170) reflected on transcripts, in MyGED®, and other places. Note that a few states will need extra time to approve this change. See state-specific timelines and policies here.

Will this change affect students in every state where the GED® test is available?
Yes and No. Yes, all states will begin utilizing the GED® College Ready and GED® College Ready + Credit performance levels. Some states will not be able to implement the 145 passing score until the change has been approved by the appropriate state policymakers. See state-specific timelines and policies here.

How will students who pass the test in January and February of 2016 provide proof to employers or colleges that they passed the test if the transcript still shows 150 as the passing score?
If a student scored between 145-149 on one or more of their GED® test subjects and their passing status was impacted, they will receive an email from MyGED®. Until updated transcripts become available beginning March 1, students can use that email as a record of their passing status. If they need an additional confirmation letter, they can email with their name and GED® ID to request one. To find their GED® ID, they can log into and click on their name in the top right corner.

Why were the GED® test performance levels and score adjusted?
These enhancements are the latest demonstration of our ongoing commitment to make data-based decisions, and continually improve the efficacy of the GED® program to benefit adult learners. The performance level enhancements are driven by a detailed analysis of educational outcomes of GED® program graduates compared to high school graduates over the past 18 months. Our initial outcomes data show that GED® graduates are performing as well as, and in many instances outperforming, high school graduates in terms of not needing remediation when entering postsecondary programs. And we have coupled that with extensive analyses of test-taker performance data, conversations with state policymakers and elected officials, and external validation.

Based on these detailed analyses, the GED® program can now measure the full spectrum of a typical graduating high school class. A graduating class represents a range of ability and performance, from those meeting the minimum requirements to those demonstrating college readiness, and those who may even earn college credits during high school. The GED® testing performance levels can now reflect this range of skills and performance.

The GED® program continues to be much more than a high school equivalency test. These scoring changes, coupled with the new support systems such as the recently released career pathways tools, or the other extensive resources available through MyGED®, mean more adult learners will be prepared for the next step in their career pathway.

Will students who scored between 145-149 since January 1, 2014, now receive a GED® diploma/credential?
We have recommended, and anticipate that most states will grandfather in these test scores and provide these new passers with their state’s GED® credential. Students who score between 145-149 before March 1, 2016, (when the systems are able to catch up with the score enhancements) should expect notification about their status change and information about receiving their GED® credentials. This does not apply to all states yet as some continue to review the recommendation. See state-specific timelines and policies here.

How will students who earned a credential due to this policy change gain access to their new transcripts and diplomas?
The process and timing will vary by state, but all students can expect to see their updated scores and information in their MyGED® account on March 1. Some states will have updated transcripts and diplomas ready a day or two after March 1, and for some states it could take a few weeks. See state-specific timelines and policies here. Remember that students should look for information from the state where they took and passed their last test at the 145-149 score level. If they have moved, they should update their address in their MyGED® account so their credential will be sent to the correct address.

Will students who retested after earning a 145 before this policy change be eligible for a rebate?
No, GED Testing Service waives its fees in order to provide up to two free retakes per test subject. Any fees that students may have paid for retakes would have been administrative charges by the testing centers and/or the states, which are not under the authority of GED Testing Service.

Will there be any more changes to the GED® program?
Yes. The Social Studies extended response item will be eliminated on March 1, 2016. See more information about this topic further down in these FAQs.

FAQs on how to counsel students who are studying or testing before March 1

What should I tell students who are getting ready to, or have already scheduled a GED® test?
Tell them to continue to test as they would normally. Counsel those who have already scheduled a testing date not to reschedule. GED® test-takers’ passing status will be automatically adjusted on March 1 when the testing systems are updated. You should tell students NOT to retest unnecessarily if they score between 145-149. You can reassure them that they will earn a GED® credential when the systems are updated on March 1. It is important to keep students testing between now and March 1, as we don’t want them to lose momentum or to have issues with not enough testing seats if everyone tries to schedule in early March.

To provide extra incentive to keep up student momentum in preparing for the GED® test, we will be launching a GED Ready® promotion beginning on February 1, 2016. The 60-day promotion will allow students to take GED Ready® practice exams at 50% off. The promotion code to receive the 50% discount is PASS2016.

What should I tell students who score between 145-149 between now and March 1 (when the system is updated to reflect the new score enhancements)?
You should tell students NOT to retest unnecessarily. You can assure them that their passing status will be automatically updated and credentials processed when the systems are updated on March 1. And if it is their fourth passing test -- tell them congratulations!

One of my students just took the GED® test and scored 145, but their score report shows that they did not pass. Why?
While the new score levels are effective immediately, we are still working on updating all national and state systems to reflect these changes. By March 1, 2016, all systems, including the score report in MyGED® will automatically show the new score levels. If a student scores between 145-149 on a GED® test before then, they have passed even if it isn’t yet reflected on their score report, and there is no need to retake the test to earn 150.

FAQs about student status changes and the GED Ready® practice test

How will students who are now eligible for a GED® credential be notified?
We are notifying test-takers in many ways. Email is just one of the ways we’ll notify test-takers. They’ll see information when they login to their MyGED® account, we are also using social and digital media outlets, texting them, adding information on our web sites/pages and more. Some states will also be notifying students through the mail, and GED® credentials and transcripts will be sent by mail, or by email for those states using digital transcripts.

Will there be any change for students who passed the test and earned a GED® credential at the 150 score level?
There will be no impact to their credential, however they may see a change to their transcript. GED Testing Service is updating the records of all test-takers since January 2014 with the new score levels, and some students may now qualify for the new GED® College Ready level (165 - 174), or they may become eligible for college credits by scoring at the GED® College Ready + Credit level (175 - 200). Beginning on March 1, 2016, students can log into their MyGED® account and click on “My Scores” to see their updated records.

Will GED Ready® practice test scores change?
Yes. GED Ready® practice test score levels have been automatically updated to reflect the new passing score, and the “Likely to Pass” or “Green” level is now 145-200. Students can now login on MyGED® and have access to the updated GED Ready® practice test beginning 1/26. Additionally, any student who now has a GED Ready® practice test status change (e.g. move from yellow to green) will see their new score level reflected. The new score levels will be: Green 145-200, Yellow 134-144 and Red 100-133. But remember, students are advised to take a GED® test subject within 60 days of earning “Likely to Pass” for the practice test predictions to be most predictive. We are telling students the same thing and encouraging them to talk to their teacher or take a new GED Ready® practice test if they completed that practice test more than 60 days ago.

FAQs About GED® College Ready and GED® College Ready + Credit

What happens to the GED® with Honors score?
When we launched the program in 2014, we set GED® with Honors as a benchmark that would be adjusted after we had feedback and data about GED® grads’ performance in postsecondary. We are using the data we’ve collected, along with independent evaluation, to adjust and expand the GED® college-ready indicators. As of December 31, 2015, we will have two optional performance levels above high school equivalency; GED® College Ready (with a cut score of 165) and GED® College Ready + Credit (with a cut score of 175) that will qualify test-takers for up to 10 college credits. More information about the College Ready + Credit level, and full implementation will be coming in March.

What states are considering or have implemented the ACE Credit Recommendation at the College Ready level?
There is a recommendation that students who reach the GED® College Ready level (165) in any of the four GED® test subjects be considered to bypass college placement exams and bypass remedial/non-credit college courses in the subject area corresponding to the module in which they received a GED® College Ready score. A few colleges have already implemented the recommendation and numerous college/universities and systems are currently evaluating how they may implement the recommendation. As admissions policies vary, you should contact your local college or university’s admissions office for details.

How does the college credit thing work?
More information will be available about the details of the ACE Credit Recommendation and transcript will be available in early March. But briefly, students will be eligible for an ACE Credit Recommendation for up to 10 college credits (3 Math, 3 Science, 3 Humanities and 1 Language Arts/English) when they score at least 175 on each GED® test subject. Almost 17,000 test-takers who have testing since January 1, 2014 have earned a 175 or more on at least one test subject and will be eligible for college credits!

FAQs About Changes to the Social Studies Extended Response

I heard you’re making changes to the Social Studies test – what changes are you making?
Effective March 1, 2016, GED Testing Service is removing the Extended Response item from the Social Studies test. The testing time for the Social Studies test will be reduced by 20 minutes (from 90 minutes to 70 minutes) due to this adjustment.

Why is the Social Studies Extended Response being removed?
Our extensive analysis of test-taker data has shown that performance on the Social Studies Extended Response (ER) is highly correlated with performance on the Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) ER, and because of that, the Social Studies ER is not adding enough measurement value to justify the extra time and effort that test-takers are putting forth to prepare for and take that item. Eliminating the Social Studies ER will not affect the college ready performance levels.

If students take the Social Studies test between now and March 1, should they answer the Extended Response?
Students should continue to respond to the Social Studies ER as they currently do, as it will be included as part of the Social Studies score up until March 1, 2016.

Should I tell students to wait to take the Social Studies subject test until after March 1?
You should tell them to continue to test as they would normally. Counsel those who have already scheduled a testing date not to reschedule. Many students will benefit from the new passing score at 145. Additionally, holding students from testing due to the ER item change may slow their momentum and may result in not enough testing capacity on March 1.