Those who administer the high school equivalency exam are upset that the numbers are frustrating many test takers. The State Board of Education must decide if changes need to be made to the math section on the exam and how much it costs to take it via computer.
The Texas high school equivalency certificate was revamped in 2014 but it it hasn't been a change for the better. Those who teach the courses and administer the exam say the new GED has become more costly and is too difficult.
"I see them in tears," Nyla Wesner a test administrator with Literacy Lubbock said. "They'll come to me and say, 'I've taken this test four times and I've failed by one or two points every time,'."
The math section is the usual downfall of students who need the certificate to get an entry-level job. Nyla Wesner said it's too difficult for this caliber of student. Math isn't the only barricade. The test is now given solely on computer so older students and those without regular computer access are handicapped.
"We want them to be valid, good workers in our society, we want them to be successful but we have this bar set so high with the Pearson testing. It's discouraging," Wesner said.
Pearson, the testing company, is currently the sole provider across the state. The SBOE will decide whether to change that. Our region's board member, Marty Rowley, said it's time to open up the market to other test providers.
"I don't think we as a state should be in the business of regulating what could be driven by market decision and people making their own decisions," Rowley said.
Rowley said competition might drive down the roughly $130 test cost and perhaps offer a more affordable alternative to computerized testing.
"If you offer both of those alternatives then the test taker can determine what best suits their ability and hopefully we can have more folks accomplish their dreams of getting that high school equivalency," Rowley said.
The board votes Friday whether to open up the market by requesting proposals from other test providers.