The state Department of Education is urging more than 13,000 West Virginians to complete their GED before the test changes.
On January 2, 2014, an electronic version of the high school diploma equivalency test will debut. The new version's content will align with the national Common Core standards. West Virginia head GED administrator Debra Kimbler says students should expect to be tested for a greater depth of knowledge.
"It will be a little harder, which is why we are encouraging them to go ahead and pass their GED prior to January," said Kimbler.
To help students with the transition, the state Adult Basic Education Office recently approved a one-year grace period for individuals who haven't passed the entire test. This means that students won't have to start from scratch once the new, computerized version goes into effect. They will have until January 2, 2015 to pass all parts of the GED before scores are erased.
West Virginia currently offers the test for free. But the new test is expected to increase costs from $50 to $120. Kimbler says the department is looking for another company that can offer a high school equivalency degree at around the original $50 price.