Students pursuing a GED — the high school equivalency certificate — currently face a juncture : They must complete their tests this year, or start the certification process over again.
31-year-old Kenya Greene is a single mother of three from Madison who has been working on and off for a few years to complete her GED. She attends Omega School, an alternative school, in Madison.
"I was starting here two years ago and I thought I was going to be able to get over it and get through it and everything but kept getting obstacles and hurdles and stuff like that. So basically I just came back and hopefully I'll just get it out of the way this time because I don't want to take it over again."
Greene has taken four of the five necessary tests needed to obtain a GED. She had gotten a little stuck on math but came back to school to finish after learning about upcoming changes. Adult schools are trying to reconnect with the many students like Greene who have taken a few tests but haven't finished for various reasons.
Gloria Pitchford-Nicholas is dean of the Pre-College Education division at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
"We can't say enough about students that are in the pipeline currently. Those are the students that will be greatly impacted because those students will perhaps have taken three tests or even four of the current tests for the 2002 series — all of that hard work will go away."
Students who do not complete all five tests this year will need start all over again. The GED diploma will be changing in January to computer-based testing that aligns with Common Core standards, a more rigorous curriculum. Current students have until early or mid-December to finish their GED. Milwaukee's technical college says it will only accept new GED students through July.
This first version of this story originally referred to "online testing" beginning in January: the testing is actually simply computer-based.