Iowa Valley plans for GED testing to move online

It didn’t come as much shock to Jennifer Wilson that the GED test is moving to computer based.

But the director of adult literacy at Iowa Valley’s Education & Training Center was taken aback when she heard last year that the paper tests will be completely eliminated by 2014, under the direction of the Iowa Department of Education.

“It’s a shock that that’s the only way it’s going to be delivered,” Wilson said.

Wilson figured the move to the computerized test that offers a high school diploma equivalency was coming but had hoped to also offer the paper test as well. Many of the GED students have minimal to no computer experience, she said.

“Not every person can come in here and be able to pull up to the computer and have that skill level,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be a huge learning curve as we try to implement digital learning.”

Many of the tests will have timed questions which means the “hunt and peck” keying method will most likely not work.

The move to the all computer format for the test will take place on Jan. 1, 2014, but Wilson and the staff at the ETC in Marshalltown are phasing in the tests.

“So we can get our feet wet on how to do that,” she said.

They are also trying to get the word out that those who have taken only a portion of the five-part paper test need to get it finished this year, otherwise their previous work will be gone.

“We’re trying to get as many people through with this old paper test as we can,” Wilson said.

Iowa Valley has a total of 366 people in its database that have completed one or more of the five tests, which it calls “non-completers,” though many of these people have moved out of state.

She also sees one other roadblock in the move to the computerized test – payment. Currently, students can pay in several different ways directly to Iowa Valley. Next year, students have to pay the test service provider online using a credit card or debit card.

“Most of our clientele do not have debit or credit cards,” Wilson said.

Even though it will take some adjusting, Wilson said getting people acclimated to computers is a good thing.

“So many jobs nowadays you do have to have that digital literacy,” Wilson said.

For more information about the GED testing, call the ETC at 641-754-1349 or visit a 206. E. Church St. in Marshalltown.