Q: why 33% of graduating students fail
the GED? Is it because the GED is scored to ensure one-third
fail, the GED is too hard or because the graduating students
were so badly educated by the public school system?
A:Because the GED is scored to ensure one-third fail. Well, it's not, specifically, but it's scored to ensure that, if 100% of graduating seniors were to take it, one-third would fail. The passing score for the GED is different in each state of the United States, and is calibrated such that a passing level indicates a level of achievement greater than the bottom third of graduating seniors. I read it in a book on GED prep when Silber was proposing that it be used as a graduation requirement. I don't trust Silber any farther than I can hold him underwater, so I was looking for "the catch," and that was right in the introduction of the first book I found in the library. The GED homepage, at http://www.acenet.edu/calec/ged/, mentions "Those who obtain scores high enough to earn a GED diploma outperform at least one-third of today's high school seniors," but doesn't make it clear that that's because it's scored that way. Hmm. Looking around the site, I'm not seeing that the passing score is different from state to state -- perhaps they changed that since the book I read was published, or perhaps I haven't yet found where they state that. However, from http://www.acenet.edu/calec/ged/overview-
A: html: "The GED Tests are standardized on a regular basis using a national stratified random sample of graduating high school seniors, tested in the spring of their senior year. These seniors establish the performance standard required for examinees to earn a GED diploma. Equating studies ensure comparability across different forms of the GED Tests. "The GED standard score scale is derived directly from the performance of graduating high school seniors. Standard scores, and the accompanying percentile ranks, provide the vehicle for comparing the performance of GED examinees to the performance of graduating high school seniors. In order to pass the tests, the GED candidate must demonstrate a level of skill that meets or surpasses that of the top 67 percent of graduating high school seniors." Also, http://www.acenet.edu/calec/ged/scoring-
A: html has a couple more details about about scoring: they mention that districts may set their passing levels higher than, but not lower than, the ACE minimum requirements. That may be what the book was saying, that districts whose schools were better than average tended to make their passing level high enough to make that 67th percentile thing work within the district. But that's pure speculation on my part, trying to remember something I read a couple years ago.
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