At a glance
Most states offer GED testing for people who didn’t get a high school diploma.
Colleges and employers often accept GED credentials. And the armed forces sometimes accept them.
The GED provides assistive technology and accommodations to test takers who qualify.
If your child didn’t get a high school diploma, he might want to consider taking the GED test. Passing the GED or another high school equivalency test can help open the door to higher education, jobs or service in the armed forces. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the GED test?
The GED test is a high school equivalency exam. (GED stands for General Educational Development.) It tests reading, computation, interpreting information, and the ability to express yourself. If your child passes, it shows that his knowledge and skills are similar to those of people who have high school diplomas.
Most states offer the GED. But they vary in their requirements and procedures for taking and passing these tests. Costs vary from nothing to as much as $80.
Is the GED certificate the same as a high school diploma?
The certificate isn’t the same as a high school diploma in every way. But colleges, employers and the armed forces all often accept it in place of one. (However, the military limits the percentage of its recruits who don’t have a regular high school diploma.)
Does the GED offer test accommodations?
Yes. If your child has a disability, he may want to apply for test . He may be able to get extended time or extra breaks, for instance.
The new computer-based GED test also has many new tools to help candidates with disabilities. These include screen-reading software (JAWS) and screen magnification software (ZoomText).
Even if your child doesn’t qualify for accommodations, the test includes features that may be helpful to him. Under the principles of Universal Design, the GED test now includes a number of self-service tools that anyone can access.
That can be useful to people whose learning and thinking differences don’t rise to the level of being disabilities. These self-service tools include font enlargement (up to 20-point) and color/contrast changes.
Is it very hard to get accommodations on the GED test?
In 2014, the GED Testing Service approved 93 percent of completed requests for testing accommodations. People who applied didn’t always get the exact accommodation they requested. But only 7 percent were fully denied.
How do you apply for accommodations for the GED test?
The GED Testing Service website explains how to apply for accommodations. You can download request forms and find out what kind of documentation you need. The site also includes information on how you can appeal a decision.
Does my child need to provide documentation when he applies for accommodations?
Yes. Proof of a learning disability or ADHD is required. Your child will need to provide a professional diagnosis or evaluation. If your child qualifies for vocational rehabilitation, he may be able to get an evaluation through that program.
After my child applies for accommodations, does it take a long time to find out if his request is approved?
Usually no. In 2014, the GED Testing Service made accommodations decisions within 11 days, on average.
Will the staff at the GED Testing Service help my child if he’s having trouble with the process for requesting test accommodations?
Yes. The GED Testing Service has a team of accommodations specialists. They’re there to help test takers understand the accommodations request process. If your child needs an accommodation, they’ll try to make sure he knows what the service needs in order to approve his request.
If your child didn’t finish high school, you may have worried that he was limiting his options. But passing the GED test can give him many of the same opportunities.
Most GED test takers with disabilities who submit completed requests for accommodations get them.
The new computerized GED test includes useful tools that everyone can use.
Talking to an accommodations specialist can help your child get through the request process.
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About the author
About the author
Patricia H. Latham, JD is an attorney and mediator and the co-author of eight books on disability and the law.