Fifty jurisdictions launch the GED® test on computer
North Dakota builds computers for testing
SHEYENNE VALLEY TACKLES CBT IN A HANDS-ON WAY
If you build it, they will come. That’s North Dakota’s mindset at least.
When GED Testing Service announced computer-based testing, the state was awarded a federal grant to buy computers. Sheyenne Valley Area Career & Technology Center saw the state’s computer shortfall as a learning opportunity.
“We asked if it would be okay if we built the computers for our center,’” said Frank Egan, technology coordinator at Sheyenne Valley. The response: Why don’t you build them for the entire state?
Egan and seven entrepreneurial students accepted the challenge. The goal is to build 140 computers before the end of the year. They’ve set a comfortable pace, with 60 computers built so far. Egan works with five students on campus, and communicates via videoconferencing with two students remotely.
“We can knock out about 20 a week,” he said.
The students learn the basics of building computers, but they also learn the business of building computers. Each student finds spare parts from vendors, manage a budget, and tell Egan why they chose certain parts for the machines.
Computers built in his class are up and running in three of North Dakota’s testing centers. There hasn’t been a single complaint yet, Egan said.
This brand of do-it-yourself problem solving not only provides computers for the state’s testing centers—it also saves money. The computers can be built at a slightly lower cost according to Egan.
“I love the basic concept of students helping other students, regardless of their age. Everyone benefits,” said Allison Jennings, program manager at GED Testing Service. “States are concerned about finding resources to support GED® testing on computer. This proves that there are creative ways to use limited dollars for maximum benefit.”
Other centers that might be interested in a similar program should find out about the specifications that are required by each testing service before spending time and energy on the computers. These specifications will be part of the blueprint for the computers they build.
As for Egan and his seven computer-savvy students the project has been well worthwhile.
“I’d build 140 computers every year if they would let me,” he said.
Weekend testing easier in Mississippi
“Test-takers were computer savvy,” said Jan West, a 30-year veteran adult educator and director of the GED® testing program at Itawamba Community College in MS. She has seen decades of change within the program and said her students were comfortable on computers.
West said there are distinct benefits to offering the test on computer. Specifically, her center will be able to offer more night and weekend time slots for test-takers who work during typical business hours.
“The people who have taken it said it was a most pleasurable experience and they would do it again in a heartbeat.”
In late February Mississippi launched four centers with the 2002 Series GED® Test on computer.
FIFTY JURISDICTIONS LAUNCHED:
Newfoundland and Labrador
914 TESTING CENTERS
113,094 TESTS DELIVERED ON COMPUTER
80% REGISTERED AND SCHEDULED ONLINE; 20% USED THE CALL CENTER
The GED® test on computer can be offered anywhere that has Internet access, two computers, and a security package!