Christie Administration Announces New Adult Education Alternative Assessments In Addition to the GED Test

For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Yaple
Rich Vespucci
Date: December 4, 2013 609-292-1126

Trenton, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced that the State Board of Education has approved new providers of the adult education assessment in New Jersey. Starting in January 2014, three vendors – Pearson VUE, Education Testing Service (ETS), and McGraw Hill – will all offer assessments leading to the state-issued high school diploma.

Each approved test has sections that must be passed in order to earn the diploma: writing, reading, math, science, and social studies. Applicants can retake the entire test or individual subtests.

Since 1959, the only adult education assessment available to receive a state-issued high school diploma in New Jersey has been the General Education Development (GED). That test was created under the auspices of the American Council on Education (ACE), a private nonprofit agency. In 2011, ACE announced the creation of the new GED Testing Service, a joint venture of ACE and the for-profit entity of Pearson, so it could align the new GED test with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and computerize the test.

Had the Department of Education remained with a sole provider, the price was expected to increase from an average cost of $65 per test taker to $195 (including test center fees), and the paper-based option would have been eliminated. Competition is expected to drive down average costs per test taker to $112 (including fees) and enable paper-based testing to remain available through 2016.

Nationally and in New Jersey, public concern over the impact of the price increase on test takers led to the entry of other test vendors into the market. In August, the Department of Education conducted an open Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process to consider new test vendors that could:

  • Offer applicants several testing options at competitive prices;
  • Ensure testing opportunities in all regions of the state;
  • Continue a paper testing option for a transitional period; and
  • Transition to the Common Core State Standards by 2016.

"I'm pleased that by opening the marketplace to new vendors, we have been able to keep costs down and expand the choices for those seeking an alternate route to the high school diploma," said Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. "We look forward to ongoing collaboration with the Department of Labor and New Jersey schools and businesses as we seek to accommodate the diverse educational needs of our citizens."

"For more than 50 years, the GED has served a useful purpose as the assessment that allows adults to receive a state-issued diploma," said Arcelio Aponte, President of the State Board of Education. "But as education improves, so do the opportunities and choices that we can provide to citizens of our state."

Starting in January, each authorized test center will be able to use any or all of three tests. To avoid incentivizing test centers to use just one test, the Department has set a uniform maximum fee of $40 that test centers can charge above the vendor fee. Test centers can also charge a $10 fee for subtests. ETS and McGraw Hill will offer both paper-based and computerized testing through 2016.  Pearson VUE will offer computer based testing, with paper-based testing offered only as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Moving forward, the Department will continue to approve new assessment vendors as they emerge.

The Department currently authorizes 30 test centers (centers are listed below). Starting early in 2014, the Department will seek to authorize additional testing centers.

Additional details about adult education in New Jersey can be found online at http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/adulted.

County Test Center Address
Atlantic Atlantic County One Stop 2 South Main St., Pleasantville
Bergen Bergen County Technical School 11 Carol Court-Hackensack Ave., Hackensack
Burlington Burlington County College 200 Campbell Drive, Suite 210, Willingboro
Burlington NJ Youth Challenge Program Fort Dix
Camden Camden County College P.O. Box 200 College Drive, Blackwood
Cape May Cape May County Technical School 188 Crest Haven Road, Cape May Court House
Essex Essex County One-Stop 50 South Clinton St, 4th Floor, East Orange
Essex Affirmation Academy 303 Washington St., Newark
Essex Essex County College Express Center 303 University Avenue, Newark
Essex La Casa de Don Pedro 39 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Newark
Gloucester Gloucester County Community College 1492 Tanyard Road, Sewell
Hudson Hudson County Schools of Technology 525 Montgomery St., Jersey City
Hunterdon Raritan Valley Community College Rte 28 & Lamington Road, Somerville
Mercer Hamilton Township Adult School 90 Park Ave., Hamilton
Mercer Mercer County Community College James Kerney Campus, Suite 118, North Broad and Academy Streets, Trenton
Middlesex New Brunswick Public Schools Adult Learning Center 268 Baldwin St., New Brunswick
Middlesex Perth Amboy Adult School 178 Barracks St., Perth Amboy
Monmouth Brookdale Community College - Lincroft 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft
Monmouth Brookdale Community College - Long Branch Long Branch Learning Center, 213 Broadway, Long Branch
Morris Morris County School of Technology 400 East Main St., Denville
Ocean Ocean County College 1 College Drive, Toms River
Passaic Paterson Adult and Continuing Education Center 151 Ellison St., Paterson
Passaic Passaic County Technical Institute 45 Reinhart Road, Wayne
Salem Salem County Vocational/Technical School Employment Prep Center , Woodstown
Statewide NJ Department of Corrections Whittlesey Road, Trenton
Statewide Juvenile Justice Commission Statewide
Statewide NJ Department of Health & Human Services Statewide
Sussex Sussex County Community College One College Hill, Newton
Union Union County College 40 W Jersey St., Elizabeth
Warren Warren County Technical School Board of Education Building, 1500 Route 57 West, Washington