Missouri’s high school equivalency exam takes on tech-savvy changes

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KANSAS CITY -- Getting a high school equivalency certificate is changing in Missouri and it's affecting adult education students working to improve their lives.

The changes come with a new test which seeks to make sure the high school equivalency exam more closely matches what high graduates are learning. And it can be intimidating to adults returning to the classroom.

The biggest change for those in the adult education and literacy program is that the test is now fully-computerized. That means adults not only have to know how to read and write, but now they must be able to work on a computer.

Educators say you have to master computer literacy to be competitive in today's workplace. Adult students like Lavesse Perkins have been taking computer courses in addition to other school work for the last four months. Perkins says passing the new test is the key to a better life for her family.

The GED test had not changed since WWI, and although the new test is different, educators say it's not necessarily more difficult. It's just that students must master new or different skills. They say the cost may be the most difficult hurdle for adult learners, many of whom are poor. The computer based test costs $95. To cost to complete the old GED was only $40.

After passing the new high school equivalency test, there are grants available for many students to provide specialized job training so they can start a career to promises to offer them a more secure and productive future.

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