According to gedtestingservice.com, the General Educational Development (GED) test was created in 1942. The original test in 1942 tested skills needed in an industrial-era society and the GED test has been updated many times since to reflect the changing American economy. The GED was created for the U.S. military which, because of World War II, needed a way to assess the skills of thousands of enlistees and workers in arms industries, many of whom may have completed little formal education. Employers needed a way to determine the skills of large numbers of applicants from diverse backgrounds, necessitating a standardized test. Today the GED test is used in all 50 states and has been updated in 1978, 1988, and 2002. A new assessment is planned to be released in 2014.
The GED remains a popular knowledge assessment option for students who did not complete high school, for various reasons. Many colleges and universities may allow a GED score to replace a high school diploma in determining admission. It is also accepted by employers and the U.S. military.
Modern purposes for continuation of the GED:
1.) Reduce unemployment. Many students drop out of high school only to realize later that they need some formal assessment of learned knowledge to secure a better job or retain their current job. Unless a government-approved standardized test existed to substitute for a high school diploma many people who were too old to return to high school would be unable to provide employers or organizations with a formal assessment of their knowledge. As a result, they would remain perpetually unemployed. Unemployed people would have to be assisted by the government, making it in the best interest of government to maintain the validity of the GED.
2.) Allow continuation of education. If there was no GED program or GED test people who dropped out of high school would never be able to further their education. Since high school dropouts of high skill and intelligence exist, there should be a route for overcoming a lack of a high school diploma. People of high academic aptitude may have been forced to quit high school for a variety of reasons and could be of great social and economic benefit if they were allowed to pursue higher education, making it in society’s best interest to maintain a test that provides that option.
3.) Psychological and emotion benefits. Even if high school dropouts don’t need a GED to pursue a better job or higher education, the lack of a formal assessment of their knowledge and aptitude may cause distress and reduce their ability to be productive citizens. Having a nationwide GED test is a way to help people improve their self-esteem, which could enhance their social and economic productivity. Being able to earn a GED could help someone begin making positive changes in their lives and in their community.