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VC second N.D. location for computer GEDs

March 8, 2012

Esther Keeling smiles as she holds the GED certificate proving she has passed her first required test Wednesday in Valley City.

Esther Keeling was one of the first people in Valley City to be tested by computer for her General Educational Development certification Wednesday when the new program was unveiled at Valley City’s Sheyenne Valley Career and Technical Center.

Keeling “told me it was simple, fast and easy,” after taking the computerized test, said Allison Jennings, program manager for GED Testing Service based in Washington, D.C.

“You should have seen the look in Esther’s face when she saw she passed,” said center director Jeff Bopp.

Immediate feedback after taking the test is a major advantage of computerized GED testing, Jennings said.

Traditional GED tests are all done with pencil and paper.

People taking the GED test by computer get instant score reports on all tests except for English, which include writing which must be gone over by a human. “With pencil and paper testing, students have to wait weeks for results,” Jennings said.

Another advantage of the computerized version of the test is it can take less time. “You can take the test on your own time and leave when you’re done, or take the next test when you’re finished,” said Jennings.

The computerized GED testing program was introduced at Williston State College Tuesday, and the Valley City site was the second in North Dakota, Jennings said. “This is site No. 2 for North Dakota, and North Dakota was the fourth state in the nation. North Dakota is cutting edge,” with delivery of GED testing by computer. “It’s been great to work here,” Jennings said.

Along with being the second computerized site in North Dakota, the 140 to 160 computers that will be used for testing in North Dakota are all being built at the Valley City school and being installed by its students, Bopp said.

The Valley City center got a grant from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to build the computers, Bopp said.

One of the reasons for starting out small is “it gives us feedback. In 2014 when the new test is introduced it will only be delivered by computer, and we wanted to do it (computerized testing) now to make sure it is all running smoothly,” Jennings said.

GED is working with a company called Pearson Vue as its technical partner. Pearson put the pencil and paper test into a computerized version.

Bopp said the Valley City center has also been accepted as a testing center by Pearson Vue, meaning other computerized tests the company handles will be given in Valley City. “We’ve given a lot of tests to people in Grand Forks and Fargo.”

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