A new report on GED testing in 2008 is one of the latest indicators that the demand for high school education, and subsequently, higher education, has increased in a tough economy.
The GED Testing Service, a program of the American Council on Education, announced Wednesday that the number of adults who took the GED tests in 2008 grew to almost 777,000. That figure represents a 7 percent increase over 2007 numbers, the largest increase since 2003.
The percent increase exceeded 10 percent in 22 states, with Louisiana and New Hampshire reporting a 40 percent increase in the number of students taking the GED battery of tests.
The report also noted an increased passing rate program-wide.
“When the economy and job markets weaken, we see increased interest and participation in the education sector,” said CT Turner, associate director of marketing for GED Testing Service, in an official statement.
Bruce Brigg, GED Testing Service interim executive director and ACE vice president, said the service is expecting and preparing for additional increases. With a stagnant dropout rate, the GED Testing program must become a vital tool to reach President Obama’s goal of the United States leading the world in the proportion of college graduates by 2020, he said.
With the rise of test-takers nationwide, the testing service has also witnessed and warned adults about an increase in fraudulent and unaccredited programs on the Internet that often promise fast and easy access to GED credentials, according to a release.
While the programs seem legitimate, they are “virtually worthless” and often fool those seeking certificates or diplomas into thinking that they can take GED tests online, the GED Testing Service warns. The GED cannot be taken online.
According to the testing service of the near 777,000 individuals who took the GED Test in 2008, 72.6 percent passed the tests and 80 percent were taking the tests for the first time.
The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that more than 16 percent of the U.S. adult population is without a high school credential.
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