Adult schools have a message for students working toward their GED diplomas — pass all your tests by year’s end or you’ll have to start over.

“We’re advising them to get busy right now and take the sections they haven’t passed,” said Mike Waters, principal of the Conejo Valley Adult School in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “Many of them are getting the message to get it done now.”

The GED certificate, a high school equivalency diploma, will change in January, and the tests students take will change with it. Students who haven’t passed all five exams now required for the certificate by the end of December will have to start again with the new tests.

Most adult-school administrators think the new test will be harder but better reflect the skills that students need for a career or college. Students also will take the new tests on computer rather than using paper and pencil. Adult schools are preparing for the new format, which will make the tests easier and faster to give, and are training teachers in the Common Core standards.

Students must pass five tests to receive their GED diplomas — in writing, reading, social studies, science and math. The tests are given over three days. If students fail any of the exams, they get two more chances each year. The average cost for the five tests is $140. After the change, students will take four tests, with reading and writing combined into one.

Scripps Howard News Service