CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the state shifts toward a Common Core-aligned curriculum and newly designed lessons for students, a new -- and possibly more expensive -- computerized version of the GED test is also on the horizon.
That means the clock is ticking for thousands of people in West Virginia who haven't passed or completed portions of the current version of the GED, the equivalent of a high-school diploma.
Letters have been sent to more than 13,000 people in West Virginia urging them to finish their GED by Dec. 31, or else they'll have to start from scratch, according to the state's head GED administrator, Debra Kimbler.
The state Department of Education's website provides a link that counts down -- to the second -- to the expiration of the current version of the GED, with the new test being unveiled Jan. 2, 2014.
In addition to nationwide changes to the content of the test -- which align with the state's new standards -- and a move to go paperless, West Virginia is also in the midst of looking for a new company, outside of the GED trademark, to provide a high school equivalency option.
That's because the new version of the GED will be more expensive.
The paper version of the test used to cost $50, but state legislators voted in 2008 for the state to cover those costs -- making West Virginia one of only four states that offer the GED for free, Kimbler said.
The new electronic GED will cost $120, but the funding the Legislature has provided for GED vouchers isn't enough to cover that, state Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said.