Discussion of the High School Equivalency Program
July 18, 2013
COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: DISCUSSION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: NO ACTION
SUMMARY: This item provides the opportunity for the committee to discuss the High School Equivalency Program, the Texas Education Agency’s current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with General Educational Development Testing Services (GEDTS), and the transition from a paper-based test (PBT) to a computer-based test (CBT).
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.111.
EFFECTIVE DATE: None.
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: At the September 15, 2011 Committee on Instruction meeting, the committee approved for first reading and filing authorization the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, General Education Development. The proposed revisions, based on the TEC §7.111 revision effective June 17, 2011, included provisions to ensure each examinees’ identification was verified, prohibit an examinee under 18 years of age from taking the examination online, and set a fee for the complete online test battery. On September 16, 2011, the board unanimously approved the revisions. At the November 18, 2011 Committee on Instruction meeting, the committee approved the second reading and final adoption of the revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, General Education Development. During this meeting, a discussion was held regarding proposed modifications of the current program. A request was made by the board for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to produce a Request for Information (RFI) to discern available options for the operation of a Texas high school equivalency certification and testing program and report to the board the results of the RFI. At the November 15, 2012 Committee on Instruction meeting, TEA staff presented the results for the RFI and the development of a Texas High School Equivalency Examination. If Texas had elected to develop a Texas examination or select a vendor other than GEDTS, there was a strong possibility that a gap in services for examinees would occur. The committee provided guidance for TEA to continue its relationship with the GEDTS and not issue a request for proposals for a Texas High School Equivalency Examination.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: On March 15, 2011, the American Council on Education, a national organization of higher-education institutions that develops the GED exams, partnered with Pearson and formed a jointly owned entity called GED Testing Service, LLC to create a new exam and a computer-only administration of the test. The 2014 series examination’s assessment targets were derived from the Common Core State Standards and the Career and College Readiness Standards in place in Texas. As a result, test-taker fees are standardized for the computer-based administration of the exams, automated scoring, and online registration systems resulting, in some cases, in a fee increase which are currently established by testing centers. Pearson’s involvement also means that it will now become a for-profit enterprise.
In November 2012, the SBOE provided guidance to TEA to enter into a one-year agreement with GEDTS. The current MOU between TEA and GEDTS ends December 31, 2014. Currently, GEDTS is offering both PBT and CBT in the 2002 series through December 2013. Beginning in January 2014, the GED exam will be offered only in the CBT format with exceptions being made for correctional institutions.
FISCAL IMPACT: None.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: The discussion will provide an opportunity for the board to explore the most effective and efficient delivery of high school equivalency program certificate and testing services.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: None.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.
Staff Members Responsible:
Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs
Jan Lindsey, Deputy Director
Federal and State Education Policy