"The current test more than likely reflects learning standards that individuals have been exposed to when they were in secondary education," he said. "The Common Core standards more than likely probably reflect standards that individuals have not been exposed to."
In New York City, the Fund for Public Advocacy-led Campaign to Finish has set up a hotline to refer students for tutoring, targeting those who've taken the test before but haven't passed all sections.
"It's going to be more difficult. It's going to cost more money next year, so I think that motivates people," said Juan Santos, 34, who is preparing for the GED in Methuen, Mass., with the goal of becoming a police officer in Florida. "I couldn't believe I waited so long."
While the GED, initially developed for U.S. military personnel who had not completed high school, is the pathway recognized by every state toward a high school equivalency diploma, New York and other states are exploring development of an alternative. Without the computer infrastructure statewide to test large numbers of people and one of the lowest pass rates in the nation, at 59.4 percent, New York has solicited bids for development of a test that would maintain the paper and pencil option for the time being and more slowly phase in the Common Core standards.
"We're trying to make the transition to the test a little more seamless, a little softer, not put so much stress on our programs, on our infrastructure and most especially our students," said Kevin Smith, the State Education Department deputy commissioner for adult career and continuing education.
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