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Writing on the new GED®

Good afternoon, friends, I was initially pleased to hear that the new GED® test would require a higher standard for writing compared to the previous version of the test. I always thought the previous writing standards were far too low to prepare students for work that required any writing and especially for postsecondary education.

Recently I heard from a colleague, who is teaching GED® prep, that two of her students were able to pass the new test without counting writing scores. This was the case because their scores in the other subjects were strong enough to achieve a passing score on the test without including writing. Has anyone else observed this happening with test takers? Is this, perhaps, a unique experience?

If students can pass without including any writing, the test is surely not an improvement over the previous version -- at least with regard to improving writing.

What are your thoughts about this? What are your concerns?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP



Michelle Kelley's picture

We have had students in our program receive 0 or 1 points on the writing rubric who have passed the RLA test.  Even though the students had received quite a bit of instruction on the evidenced based writing and had demonstrated that they could write a decent essay, they had either rushed through the essay or only gave a half-hearted attempt.  One student said "The test was getting so long, I just wanted to be done with it."   We've also seen it with the Social Studies test as some students did not put much (or any) effort into the extended response question.  Our staff is going over the scores student received on the Extended Response questions and adjusting our instruction.  I see the ER items as being very important for the students who are on the bubble ("Too Close to Call") on the GED Ready.  Apparently if the students do well on the multiple choice portion of the RLA and Social Studies tests, they can still receive a score above 150 on the test.  Other colleagues from other programs have reported the same findings.

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Michelle, Thanks for your response. What you are describing is exactly what my colleague reported. When scores on the multiple choice questions are high enough, students can pass the ELA test with very low scores or even a zero on the writing. I think this is unfortunate since strong writing skills are so essential to college success.

You say you and your colleagues have analyzed your students' results and are adjusting your instruction accordingly. Can you tell us how you plan to teach differently?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP

RKenyon's picture
One hundred

Hi Susan,

Thanks for posting your comments about the writing portion of the GED Test.  Writing should be a quintessentially important part of a high school credential.  Many colleges/universities require writing samples.  Some job interviews ask for a writing sample.

I concur with your statement, "If students can pass without including any writing, the test is surely not an improvement over the previous version."  

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks, also, to Michelle for commenting on this discussion thread.

Rochelle Kenyon, SME