In 2017 GED Testing Service celebrated its 75th anniversary. Since the release of the first GED® test in 1942, it has evolved from a high school equivalency credential created for U.S. service members to a comprehensive program aligned with college and career readiness standards. The GED® program has evolved over time, and 2017 is certainly no exception. Below are some of the highlights from this past year.

In 2017 we continued to explore ways to equip GED® graduates with the skills needed to be successful in the workforce, postsecondary education and career training programs.

This work included a focus on creating connections to help graduates navigate the many options they can pursue with a GED® credential, and better positioning them for 21st Century job opportunities.

We continued to focus on ways to help educators recruit students into adult ed programs through growth and enhanced visibility of GEDPrep Connect™–which also helps educators manage their students and programs. During 2017 the number of new students who opted to connect with a local adult education program and share their scores soared to 245,190!

We also continued our commitment to helping adult educators further develop their familiarity with the GED® test and hone classroom strategies with new PD resources and presentations. We welcomed our second Train the Trainer cohort at our annual conference. These GEDTS trained and endorsed trainers are valuable assets that live and work in virtually every state, and are being deployed to deliver PD content. We also continued our popular Tuesdays for Teachers webinar series.

Our State Relationship Managers and supplemental trainers provided in-person professional development presentations and updates in local, state, and national meetings that touched virtually every GED®-offering state at least one. Our early estimates tell us that at least 20,000 individuals were exposed to GED®-related information and professional development presentations. The State Relationship Managers and Technology Operations teams also provide support to a record number of educators, test centers, students, policymakers and a variety of other stakeholders this past year–while receiving high customer feedback ratings.

In 2017 we learned that more than ever GED® graduates are interested in pursuing postsecondary education and career training programs. From a survey conducted with GED® graduates since the release of the 2014 test, we found that 2 out of 3 express interest in college. More than 35% enroll in a college program within a year of earning their credential, and at least 41% enroll in college within two years of earning their GED® credential.

GED® graduates are also seeing positive results in the classroom. Persistence is at an all-time high with 90% of GED® graduates continuing to enroll semester to semester. Contrast this with a 29% persistence rate under the 2002 GED® exam series, and you’ll see how far you and your students have come in readiness for career and college programs.

In 2017 Massachusetts added the GED® program as an option for students seeking a high school equivalency diploma, in large part due to the outcomes data in GED® states. And, the College Ready and College Ready + Credit recommendations continued to be turned into policies that allow GED® grads to bypass placement exams, bypass the developmental education trap by placement into credit-bearing courses, and possibly even earn college credit. Read more about this topic in this month’s InSession article Adoption of the GED® College Ready and College Ready + Credit Score Levels.

Performance measures on the GED® test continued to increase in 2017 as well. The average passing score for Science was 156, Social Studies was 155, RLA was 155, and Math was 153. The overall scores for all test takers (passing and non-passing) was Science (154), Social Studies (153), RLA (152), and Math (150).

The visibility of the GEDWorks™ program continued to grow, as did our engagement with employers. In November 2017 we celebrated over 2,000 students earning their GED® credential through participation in the employer-sponsored program. We are also added new employers to the GEDWorks™ family last year. Sheetz, Scholastic, Pizza Hut, Jiffy Lube and Royal Cup began offering the GEDWorks™ program to employees in corporate and store locations.

On May 18, 2017 we held our second GED® Grad Day celebration and we saw participation grow tremendously. The #GEDGradDay hashtag was used over 800 times on Grad Day which resulted in a donation to the National Center for Families Learning. We also had more than 30 adult education centers participate on Facebook and Twitter.

We hosted the GED Testing Service Annual Conference, July 26th through 28th at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel. Over 400 attendees joined us for three days of networking and professional development workshops and presentations. The conference boasted our largest attendance to date with adult educators, GED® administrators, vendors and education professionals all convening in one place. We trained our second group of  trainers, recognized our GED® Graduate of the Year scholarship award winners, and conducted 24 information sessions and professional development workshops. This video recaps some of the highlights from last year’s event.

None of work in 2017, or our continued work in 2018 would mean anything without the perspiration, inspiration, feedback–and at times tears–of adult learners and adult educators across the country and world. We thank you for the continued opportunity to serve you and adult learners, and we look forward to continuing our work in 2018.