The GED Test has been used to determine high school equivalency since the 1940s, when soldiers returning from war needed a way to demonstrate high school proficiency in order to attend college or go to work. Adults who speak English as a second language have language options for taking the GED test. However, not all states view the language options on the GED Test at the same level as the English GED Test.
The GED Test and its Subtests
According to the GED Testing Service, the current GED Test consists of five subtests: English Language Arts-Reading, English Language Arts-Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. In January of 2014, the GED Test will change to four subtests: Reasoning through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science and Social Studies. Students must score at least 410 points on each subtest, and 2250 overall to pass the GED test. Students who have not passed all five sections of the current GED Test will have to take all four parts of the new 2014 GED Test.
The Language Options on the GED Test
According to the GED Testing Service, the GED Test is available in French and Spanish as well as English. Students can take the entire test in one of these two languages, but some states note on the GED diploma or GED transcript that the test was taken in a language other than English. Adults who want to take the test in either Spanish or French should check with their individual state, and also any college or technical school they may wish to attend, to make sure they accept a GED Test score from another language before they take the test.
Other Accommodations for Non-Native English Speakers
According to the GED Testing Service, accommodations on the GED Test are provided for some students with disabilities, such as a learning disability, vision or hearing impairment, ADHD, or psychological/physical disability. If a student has a disability, the GED Testing Service will provide an audio version of the test, individual administration, a large print version, frequent breaks during the test, and extended time. However, unless the adult second language learner has a documented disability, he cannot have accommodations.
Studying for the English GED Test as a Non-Native Speaker
For many second language learners, the English Language Arts-Writing section is the most difficult part of the test because students will need to write in English and answer mechanics and grammar questions. Second language learners also have difficulty with the Social Studies and Science tests because of the vocabulary involved. In addition, students must understand concepts in American and world history, as well as biology, earth, space, and physical sciences. There are several study guides and practice tests available free online for all sections of the GED Test.
Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.