WAYNESBORO, Va -- Jacob Bennett dropped out of high school and is getting back in to studying, this time for the General Education Development, or GED, test.
“Having a chance to go back and get my diploma is like the best thing,” said Bennett.
GED Test Coordinator Janita McNemar said they have seen 50 percent fewer people take the test since they started transitioning to a computer-based test this fall.
“We thought it was a fluke in August,” said McNemar, “We thought people are on vacation, whatever. Then it happened again in September, then it happened again in October. We were really boggled by it. The only thing I can attribute it to is that people think they can only take computer-based tests right now, and that's not the case.”
Test administrators want to make sure people who are more comfortable with the paper version take that version now, before it ends up on a computer. The computer version of the exam will cost about $120, which is more than double what it costs now.
One of those people, who benefit from a paper version of the GED test, is Sheila Morris. She said the GED could give her an invaluable education.
“The price of it I wouldn't worry about; it's the education you need,” said Morris, “If you need it, you really need to go back and get your GED and make something with our lives...I want a better job, and I want to educate myself and want to go further in life.”
Bennett said the higher price is worth it to help him get back to school.
“People without a GED or diploma; they don't have anything,” said Bennett. “It's much harder to find a job, plus going to school without a GED.”
GED test takers over age 18 can get vouchers to take the exam for free.
The switch to computer-based tests happens January 2014 and students can still take the paper test until that switch.
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