New Brunswick

GED testing in New Brunswick ends next month, questions remain about replacement

On May 3, General Education Development testing, more commonly known as the GED, will end in New Brunswick. The GED is an equivalency test for adults who did not complete high school.

High-school equivalency test for adults will be replaced by Canadian Adult Education Credential

A GED prep textbook on a desk with a student studying in the background.
The GED test ends on May 3. It will be replaced by a new Canadian-based test that's been developed in Alberta. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

On May 3, General Education Development testing, more commonly known as the GED, will end in New Brunswick.

The GED is an equivalency test for adults who did not complete high school.

It will be replaced with a new Canadian-based test developed in Alberta, the Canadian Adult Education Credential.

But with less than a month until the end of the GED, Laura Burris of the Central Valley Adult Learning Association in Oromocto said she still has unanswered questions, including when the replacement will be available.

"Even though May 3 is the date, we don't have a date yet for when tests will be up and running. It could be June, it could be July. We are hoping it will be fairly close." 

WATCH | 'The biggest question is when testing is going to be up and running':

A new high school equivalency test is coming to New Brunswick

1 month ago
Duration 1:16
GED testing ends May 3 and a Canadian-made replacement is on the way. But questions remain about the new Canadian Adult Education Credential.

Not knowing what her students will be tested on means she doesn't know what classroom material will be needed, Burris said.

"If you're looking at resources for the classroom, we're going to need another 15-20 books per classroom. At about $100 a book, that's significant."

There is also uncertainty about whether the new adult education test will be recognized as a high-school equivalent throughout the country.

While many provinces, including Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Alberta are onboard, others, such as Ontario, have yet to announce plans to adopt the new test.

The GED consists of five tests: reading, writing, social studies, science and math. The new test will consist of the same five modules. Until May 2027, students who have completed sections of the GED will be able to carry over their credits to the new system.

Learning centres see improvements 

Shilow MacDonald, executive director at Saint John Kings Adult Learning, said while the transition for teachers has been smooth, she is still waiting to find out exactly what material will be taught in class. 

"I think the teachers need to kind of know what areas they should focus on, when you're looking at science and social studies, so they can find the right learning materials."

Shilow MacDonald on a zoom call
Shilow MacDonald at Saint John Kings Adult Learning says the new test should be more applicable to Canadians and she hopes with more ownership over the content, it will be easier to make adjustments. (ZOOM)

Both MacDonald and Burris are hopeful the new testing program will be recognized throughout the country but not knowing from the onset is creating some concern among students.

CBC News has requested an interview with the New Brunswick Department of Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour regarding these concerns. The department declined the request but said more information will be shared in the coming weeks.

Burris is hopeful that ultimately the new adult education program and test will benefit students by focusing on subject matter more relevant to Canadians.

Burris said the GED was created in the United States, so there is little control over testing material. The tests used in New Brunswick are more than 20 years old.

"They are going have tests that are more Canada-relevant, whereas the GED now, it's all around the U.S. culture and history."

A long narrow classroom with an instructor at the front of the class.
An Oromocto classroom prepares for GED testing. Another possible improvement is that the new test is expected to let students transfer existing high school credits. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

MacDonald agrees that the new test should be more applicable to Canadians and she hopes with more ownership over the content, it will be easier to make adjustments.

The new test should be an improvement for students who have French as their first language, said MacDonald, because although GED testing is available in French, the online portal is not.

Burris said she also hopes the new test will be more adaptable for Canadians whose first language is not French or English.

"We don't have confirmation but right now they are looking at things like having more flexible accommodations to meet the needs of more Canadians."

Currently, the GED accommodations focus on physical or mental disabilities and not a language barrier. Burris said some students understand the material but just need slightly more testing time if English or French is not their first language.

Another possible improvement is that the new test is expected to let students transfer existing high school credits.

"It would be nice if someone was successful in, for example, in mathematics, you know, they got their Grade 10-11 math successfully, then it would be nice to be able to recognize that," Burris said.

"This is a process and there may need to be adaptations to make this successful but the end goal is going to be a program that is better than what we have now, and that's exciting."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lars Schwarz is a journalist with CBC New Brunswick. He grew up in Fredericton. If you have any story tips, you can reach him at lars.schwarz@cbc.ca.