Education and Workforce Development Committee Update
January 24, 2013
- Commissioner King Speaks to The Business Council Board of Directors
- Certificate of Work Readiness
- Fate of the GED and Debate Over Potentially Charging a Fee for Test Takers
The Business Council was proud to welcome state Education Commissioner John King Jr. at its Board of Directors meeting on January 22. The Commissioner stressed the importance of closing the international achievement gap, and noted that academic knowledge, non-cognitive, socio-emotional knowledge and career-specific knowledge were all critical in ensuring that students are ready for college and career.
The Board of Regents has proposed a Certificate of Work Readiness for students with disabilities. The credential is intended to indicate student preparedness for entry-level employment and would include documentation of the student’s participation in career exploration and planning and career-related experiences. The certificate would act as a supplement to a regular high school diploma, or, for a student with a disability who is unable to earn a regular diploma, it would act as the student’s exiting credential.
The Business Council has been asked to provide comment on these proposed regulations and is looking for input from our members.
Links to the summary and the full text of the proposed amendment are available here.
Business, government and education leaders frequently refer to the “skills gap” crisis that exists between the labor force and the nation’s unfilled jobs. This issue is particularly worrisome in relation to the poor performance of GED test takers in New York. According to data from the Center for an Urban Future, only 58 percent of test-takers passed the exam in 2011, placing New York 49th among all the states.
Simultaneously, the GED Testing Service (a joint venture of the American Council on Education and Pearson LLC) is unveiling a new, computerized, test in 2014. After January 1, 2014, scores from previous GED tests — the five parts can be taken separately — cannot be combined with scores from the new test series.
The GED Testing Service also announced plans to raise the cost of the exam to $120 in 2014, which would subsequently double the cost to the state (Education Law Section 317 prohibits the charging of a fee to take the GED, and currently, the cost of testing is covered in the state budget). New York is one of only four states that do not charge such a fee; the others are Maine, Arkansas and West Virginia.
These factors raise a myriad of questions:
- How can we improve performance among test takers in New York?
- Why does New York fall so far behind the national average when it comes to the percentage of individuals who pass the exam?
- How will an already cash-strapped state withstand a major increase in the cost of the exam?
- Should New York charge an exam fee?
To read more about Fate of the GED and Debate over Potentially Charging a Fee for Test Takers here.