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About the Test

Individuals who are in need of test accommodations because of a disability may apply for special testing at the GED web site when they register.

Reasoning through language arts

In alignment with the career- and college-readiness standards, the GED® RLA assessment focuses on three essential groupings of skills:

1.The ability to read closely

2.The ability to write clearly

3.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 varies 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.

Mathematical reasoning

The GED® Mathematical Reasoning Test focuses on two major content areas: quantitative problem solving and algebraic problem-solving.

Evidence that was used to inform the development of the Common Core State Standards shows that instructors of entry-level college mathematics value master of fundamentals over a broad, shallow coverage of topics. National remediation data are consistent with this perspective, suggesting that students with a shallow grasp of a wide range of topics are not as well prepared to succeed in postsecondary education and are more likely to need remediation in mathematics compared to those students who have a deeper understanding of more fundamental mathematical topics. Therefore, the GED® Mathematical Reasoning Test focuses on the fundamentals of mathematics in these two areas, striking a balance of deeper conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply these fundamentals in realistic situations. A variety of item types are used in the test, including multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, hot spot, and fill-in-the-blank.

The Common Core State Standards include Standards for Mathematical Practice, which describe the types of practices, or behaviors, in mathematics that are essential to the mastery of mathematical content. These standards form the basis of the GED® mathematical practice standards, which assess important mathematical proficiencies, including modeling, constructing and critiquing reasoning, and procedural fluency.

Given these priorities, the GED® Mathematical Reasoning Test adheres to the following parameters:

  • Approximately 45 percent of the content in the test focuses on quantitative problem solving, and approximately 55 percent focuses on algebraic problem-solving.
  • The test includes items that test procedural skill and fluency as well as problem-solving.
  • The contexts within which problem-solving skills are measured were taken from both academic and workforce contexts.
  • Approximately 50 percent of the items are written to a Depth of Knowledge cognitive complexity level of 2.
  • Approximately 30 percent of the items are aligned to a Mathematical Practice standard in addition to a content indicator.
  • The statistics and data interpretation standards are also measured in the GED® Social Studies and Science Tests.
  • Candidates are provided with an on-screen calculator, the Texas Instruments TI-30XS Multiview scientific calculator, for use on most of the items on the 2014 GED® Mathematics Test.

Science

The GED® Science Test focuses on the fundamentals of science reasoning, striking a balance of deeper conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply these fundamentals in realistic situations. In order to stay true to this intention, each item on the Science Test is aligned to one science practice and one content topic.

The science practices can be described as skills that are key to scientific reasoning in both textual and quantitative contexts. The science practices are derived from important skills enumerated in the Common Core State Standards as well as in The National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education.

The Science Test also focuses on three major content domains:

  1. Life science
  2. Physical science
  3. Earth and space science

The science content topics, which are drawn from these three domains, provide context for measuring a test taker’s abilities to apply the reasoning skills described in the practices. The content topics focus on science that reflects both that which is taught in many high school-level science courses and that which is most relevant and useful for an adult population. To measure this content at a range of levels of complexity, several different item types are used in the test, including multiple choice, short answer, drag-and-drop, hot spot, and fill-in-the-blank.

Given these priorities, the GED® Science Test adheres to the following parameters: Approximately 40 percent of the test focuses on life science, roughly 40 percent focuses on physical science, and approximately 20 percent focuses on Earth and space science.

  • Approximately 40 percent of the test focuses on life science, roughly 40 percent focuses on physical science, and approximately 20 percent focuses on Earth and space science.
  • The test includes items that test textual analysis and understanding, data representation and inference skills, as well as problem-solving with science content.
  • Each item on the Science Test is aligned to both one science practice and one content topic.
  • Each item is also aligned to one Depth of Knowledge level of cognitive complexity, based on the appropriate alignment to a science practice.
  • Approximately 80 percent of the items are written to a Depth of Knowledge level of 2 or higher.
  • The contexts within which problem-solving skills are measured were taken from both academic and workforce contexts.
  •  Approximately 50 percent of the items are presented in item scenarios, in which a single stimulus (which may be textual, graphic or a combination of both) serves to inform two to three items. The rest of the items are discrete.

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