Juneau Recommends New Contract for High School Equivalency Exam

Focuses on Ensuring Access and Affordability for Montanans

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
By Allyson Hagen

Helena, MT – Today, Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau recommended that the Board of Public Education enter into a contract with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to develop a new Montana High School Equivalency Exam to replace the GED test. This recommendation follows an announcement that GEDTS, a new for-profit corporation formed by the American Council on Education and Pearson, would more than double the cost of the GED exam in 2014.

Stated Superintendent Juneau, "Montanans who do not have a high school diploma need access to an affordable, high-quality, high school equivalency exam. ETS is the best option for our state, providing an exam at a reasonable price that will meet rigorous college- and career-ready standards and sharing our commitment to meet the needs of rural Montana."

In March 2011, GEDTS announced that the new GED test available in 2014 would cost $120 and would only be computer-based. Any retakes of the exam would cost $24. Montanans currently pay $55 to take the GED exam and $7-$14 to retake portions of the exam. ETS's HiSET exam will cost $50, and up to two retests in the same calendar year are included at no additional cost. Additionally, ETS will offer both a computer-based exam and a paper and pencil exam and allow the test to be administered at existing testing locations, ensuring a smooth transition to the new exam. Montana's contract with GED expires on December 31, 2013. ETS will launch its new exam in January 2014.

The Office of Public Instruction brought together a panel of experts from across the state to review proposals from three different vendors. These experts represented Adult Basic Education programs, Job Corps, GED examiners, Dept. of Labor, Dept. of Corrections and higher education. The panel also included a member of the Board of Public Education. The panel of experts recommended to Superintendent Juneau that Montana move forward with a contract with ETS.

Continued Juneau, "Montanans who are looking to improve their economic situation by obtaining a high school equivalency diploma should not have to overcome a significant financial barrier in order to achieve that goal. I am confident this new exam will meet the needs of our state and provide a rigorous assessment of the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and careers."

About ETS:
For more than 65 years, the non-profit ETS has developed some of the most widely-accepted large-scale assessments used by organizations and institutions around the globe. ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® General and Subject Tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at more than 9,000 locations worldwide.

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