Niagara Gazette


March 24, 2014

New York state does away with GED test

Niagara Gazette — People aiming to obtain a New York State high school equivalency diploma face a new test, one that quizzes their knowledge of basic social studies, science and advanced math in addition to reading, effective this year.

As of Jan. 2, the General Education Development test was replaced by the “Test Assessing Secondary Completion.”

The TASC will be aligned to the Common Core Standards over the next three years, and will increase in difficulty each year, according to Susan Diemert, adult literacy coordinator for Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

The TASC is composed of five sections: math, reading, writing, science, and social studies.

Whereas the GED exam was primarily a reading comprehension test, the new test “requires individuals to have knowledge of basic social studies and science content and advanced math skills,” Diemert said.

“Adult students will now have to learn facts about government, historical documents, American history and world history for social studies. The science section will require the student to have prior knowledge in the areas of biology, chemistry, and earth science.” 

The test will become increasingly more difficult through 2016, she said.

Orleans-Niagara BOCES is one of 13 districts throughout the state that administers the TASC online. Students can take the test online in a BOCES computer lab, or on paper, at scheduled times at one of four designated sites in Niagara and Orleans counties, according to TASC Chief Examiner Jessica Bush.

Because the TASC is more difficult, people planning to take it are encouraged to try a “readiness practice” test first, Bush said. The practice test is half the length of the real test and gauges the taker’s ability to pass it.

BOCES offers ongoing, free TASC preparation classes at 14 locations including Lockport, North Tonawanda, Niagara Falls, Sanborn, Medina and Albion, in morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

Bush urged GED test takers who passed some sections but not others to try the TASC sooner rather than later, due to the fact that the new test will become more difficult every year.

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