Is GED Testing Service working to develop Depth of Knowledge (DOK) question banks for teachers to use within their classrooms?

GED Testing Service is working with a number of publishers that will be creating a wide range of materials to support the 2014 GED® test.  These include sample and practice test questions that will incorporate Depth of Knowledge references.

Are different DOK levels weighted differently?

The DOK level is an attribute of each test item, and, as such, is not an element of the test that can be weighted.

Are these questions the 20 percent of DOK recall in these modules?

Twenty percent of the items on the test will be at DOK level 1, which is sometimes referred to as the “recall” level.

Do you have a breakdown of DOK levels 2 and 3 as they add to 80 percent?

GED Testing Service is not specifying the numbers of items or score points that will fall into DOK level 2 vs. DOK level 3 since the DOK levels are dependent on the specific Assessment Target being measured. Refer to the specific content area Assessment Targets in the Assessment Guide for Educators, Chapter 2, pages 2.11 through 2.43 for guidance on how the targets reflect the DOK levels.

If it's going to be 80/20 DOK levels 2 and 3/level 1, will that ratio also apply to the different cut scores connected to high school-equivalency and career and college readiness?

The DOK levels do not relate directly to the cut scores for high school equivalency, since the passing standard has been set through reference to the empirical performance of a national sample of high school graduates from the class of 2013 who participated in the Standardization and Norming Study (SNS) in the summer of 2013.  The Performance Level Descriptors, which were derived from a content analysis of the performance data from the SNS, describe the specific knowledge targets and, by extension, DOK levels, relate to the performance standards.  Information about this aspect of the test will be available in the technical report that is released subsequent to the launch of the test in 2014.

I understand that DOK and Bloom's Taxonomy are different but will all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy still show up on the test?

Bloom’s Taxonomy is not being used as a framework for the 2014 GED® test, so no information relative to Bloom’s will be provided for the new test.


Which form of language will be used on the scoring of the short responses: formal or American standard?

The language standard expected in constructed responses to test items is the level appropriate for “on-demand, draft writing.”We do not hold test-takers to a standard of very formal conventions at all. Rather, we understand that they have minimal time for proofreading and that we can accept diction that is significantly more casual than, for example, what might be required on a resume cover letter. The language performance expectations are not as high “Edited American English.”

Will the RLA contain grammar questions?

The RLA content includes testing in the area of Language, which includes some concepts and skills sometimes known as grammar.

Verb tenses were not mentioned on the content of the new test. Will there still be questions involving tenses?

Yes, verb tense is one of the skills tested via the 2014 test via Extended Response Scoring Rubric Trait 3 only (Assessment Guide for Educators, page 2.70)

Will there be a vocabulary resource for the 2014 GED® test?

There may be such a resource in the works by one of the publishers, but GED Testing Service has no plans to create those materials.

Are there any poems on the 2014 GED® test?

Poetry does not appear on the 2014 GED® test.

Is there a compilation of the "Great American Conversation" recommended texts?

No.  The “Great American Conversation” is a continuing work-in-progress, with historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution constantly being supplemented by contemporary articles and sources.

Can you give us an idea what measures of text complexity will be used, and what the range might be?

Passages are chosen primarily by similarity to the exemplar passages as indicated in the Assessment Guide for Educators. However, a number of different measures are also used to document the complexity of materials (e.g., Dale-Chall, Lexile, and Flesch-Kincaid). Different measures are used because the different readability models look for differing attributes of text and so can produce fairly divergent results. 

Can students pass the test without doing any writing?

Writing is an extremely important section of the test and is a key part in determining career and college readiness. 



How will the content change on the math test?

Please refer to the Assessment Guide for Educators at information on the math content changes.

What basic math skills will be required to pass this math test at the lowest skill level?

Mathematics knowledge and skills required to achieve the Passing Standard for high school equivalency are outlined in the Performance Level Descriptors for Mathematics, available on our web site at

What is Assessment Indicator A.12.a? Where do I access this reference or others like it on the Item Samplers?

For the references to the Assessment Targets contained in the Item Samplers, download the Assessment Guide for Educators and refer to Chapter 2 and its appendices for a complete listing of the Assessment Targets.  The guide is available at

Will data analysis (charts and graphs) be included in the Mathematical Reasoning test?

Yes, items that include aspects of data analysis of charts, graphs, tables, and diagrams will be included in the Mathematical Reasoning test.

How will the spacing for fill-in-the-blank issues be graded?

The computer removes all extraneous spaces prior to evaluating and scoring a response, so use of different spacing has no impact on the scoring of a fill-in-the-blank test item.

Can students use only the calculator that is provided on the computer? Won't the math test be broken into two sections: calculator-allowed and calculator-prohibited?

The Mathematical Reasoning test is still in two sections, a short calculator-prohibited section of five items and a longer calculator-allowed section. The on-screen calculator is being used rather than a handheld calculator in order to maintain equity and efficiency in the testing process, so that it is certain that all test-takers are using the same calculator on the same items in the test. Because individuals testing on computer are taking the test in an individual administration (unlike paper-based testing where entire groups of students start and end the test at the same time), use of handheld calculators would be impractical, requiring test administrators to be distributing and collecting calculators at all different times during testing.

So Mathematical Reasoning will be one test now and not two parts?

The math test is in two sections, one short calculator-prohibited section of five items, and a longer calculator-allowed section. Both sections are part of a single Mathematical Reasoning module with total testing time of 90 minutes.

Will there be a reference sheet for the symbols? Or will students need to know what each of the symbols mean?

Yes, a reference sheet for the symbol selector has been posted to our website.

If mathematical fluency in basic operations is important, why allow the calculator on almost all the test? Most of my students are deficient so why would they want to learn how to divide if they can use a calculator?

Career- and college-readiness standards do require that students be able to demonstrate fluency in mathematical calculations. However, the reality is that most individuals will have a calculator available at most times in school or on the job, and the focus of the test is on reasoning skills, not on calculations. If we were to prohibit the calculator on the entire test, we would need to allow extra time for calculation by hand, thus either requiring extended testing time or being unable to test the full range of higher order thinking skills that are a key component of the test.


Are short answer questions timed separately from the rest of the test like the Social Studies test?

Short answer items only appear on the Science module. They are not timed separately, and the 10-minute response guideline is only a suggestion to test-takers. The items are included within the overall timing of the Science module.

How much time is allotted for the entire Social Studies exam?

The Social Studies exam will be timed at 90 minutes, in two sections. The first section will be 65 minutes for all items except the extended response item, and the second section will consist of one 25-minute block for the extended response item.

What definition is GED Testing Service using for "Enduring Issues" on the 2014 GED® Social Studies exam?

For the purposes of the 2014 GED® Social Studies Test, an "enduring issue" is an important topic or idea that may be subject to ongoing discussion throughout multiple eras of history. Enduring issues will most likely not have simple solutions. Rather, they are ideas and concepts that we (the American people) continue to wrestle with as new situations arise.

What are some examples of enduring issues that will be covered on the new Social Studies exam?

Extended Response items on the 2014 GED® Social Studies test come from the civics and government domain and are focused on the theme Development of Modern Liberties and Democracy. As a result, most of the enduring issues will fall into four categories:

  • Citizens’ rights in conflict with some other societal interest
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances
  • States' rights versus federal power





Will different questions be worth different values?

Yes, different questions on the test will be worth different score points. So, for example, a test item with two drop-down selections would be worth two points, since the test-taker is being asked two separate things about one set of stimulus material.

Are drop-down items no longer part of the Science module?

Drop-down items are still included as part of the Science module.

Will the Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) contain both an extended response and two short answers?

No, only one extended response item will appear on the RLA test.

What are hot-spot questions and are there examples?

See Chapter 1 of the Assessment Guide for Educators for a description and examples of "hot-spot” items.

What happens if you try to add an extra bar on a drag-and-drop graph item beyond the set number of bars that there is a place for on the question?

On drag-and-drop items such as the one you are referring to in which a test-taker drags bars and places them on the graph, dragging an extra bar beyond the number required on the graph will replace whatever bar was in place on the graph with the new bar, and then return the original bar to the “inventory.”

How many short answers on the social studies? Is short answer considered the same as fill in the blank? 

There are no short answer items on Social Studies exam, only an extended response item. Short answer items only appear on the Science exam and require the equivalent of about a paragraph as a response. Short answer items are different from fill-in-the-blank items, which usually consist of one word or number that needs to be entered into the blank, as opposed to an entire paragraph.

Will GED Testing Service provide a percentage breakdown for the item types on each test? Will some standards weigh heavier than others?

GED Testing Service is not specifying the total numbers of each item type on the 2014 GED® test. Instead, we are selecting the item type most appropriate for the particular content that is being assessed. However, more than 50 percent of the items on each test form will be multiple choice. The assessment targets, however, do have targeted coverage percentages. See the Assessment Guide for Educators, July 2013 update, for more information.

Do the Item Samplers have new questions or are they updates of the original release?

The updated Item Samplers have additional test questions in each content area that augment the questions in the original version released in July 2012.

Can you tell me how the test-taker uses the answer explanation or is that function only on test samples?

Yes, the answer explanation is an instructional feature of the Item Samplers and the free practice test and don’t appear on GED Ready™: The Official Practice Test or the operational GED® test.


Will there be a requirement on the RLA and Social Studies test for students to write a passing essay, similar to the requirement on the current Writing test?

Students will need to gain as many points as possible on the RLA and Social Studies ER items, but even if a low number of points are obtained, all of those points will be counted towards the test-takers score, unlike on the current writing test.

What is the minimum score for the extended response that is passing?

There is no concept of “passing” the ER item.  Students earn score points on each constructed response item that contributes to their overall module score, and that module score is then compared with the passing standard of 150 to determine whether the test-taker has passed or failed.

Will a student be able to pass the RLA without writing a passing extended response (once the passing score is determined)?

There is no concept of “passing the extended response,” but it is difficult to imagine a test-taker passing the new test without gaining at least some points on the ER item.

How important will grading the grammar of non-native speakers affect short and extended response questions?

Language usage is one of the elements of language arts identified in the GED® test Assessment Targets and is also an important aspect of the career- and college-readiness content standards that the new GED® test reflects.  The grammar and usage rules and conventions that are assessed in the extended response items have been limited to a finite set, however. Those criteria are detailed in the extended response rubrics for the Reasoning through Language Arts test and the Social Studies test, and can be found in the Assessment Guide for Educators, July 2013 Update, on pages 3.10 and 3.13.  Even students who are non-native speakers of English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in critical dimensions of language. 


Has the new calculator been field tested in any Pearson VUE centers?

Yes, the TI-30FX was used during all the 2012 field-testing and the calculator has also been in use since September 4, 2012, on the operational 2002 Series GED® test on computer.

Is there an updated online site for Texas TI 30XS? The previous site mentioned during the science webinar is not available any longer.

Here is the site:

What percentage of problems are test takers able to use a calculator to solve?

The calculator-prohibited items are limited to only 5 items on each form of the Mathematical Reasoning test. All of the other items in that module allow the use of the calculator. Keep in mind that the calculator is also provided on certain items in the Science and Social Studies tests where it would be useful to test-takers in answering those items.

Will the calculator be on the screen or will testers use an actual physical hand held calculator?

The calculator used in testing in 2014 must be the on-screen calculator. Handheld calculators are not allowed as a general rule, although certain accommodations (such as the use of a talking calculator by a blind individual) might require the use of a handheld calculator.

Must students use the on-screen calculator or may they bring in a calculator?

For the 2014 test, the on-screen calculator must be used, except in the case of a special accommodation (such as the use of a talking calculator by a blind individual).

Will the TI-30sx be the virtual calculator? I am considering purchasing the physical TI-30sx for students to begin getting familiar with the layout.

Yes, the TI-30XS will be the virtual calculator, built-into the testing interface. For instructional purposes, you can purchase the on-screen calculator or the hand-held version from a wide range of sources.

Will the calculator be available for all math portions? Or will it be similar to the current test where part of the math section you can use the calculator, and the other you cannot?

The on-screen calculator will be available for all but the first five items on the Mathematical Reasoning test – though there will be a handful of items that are calculator-prohibited, testing basic computational skills that are incorporated into the career- and college-readiness standards and (by extension) the GED® test Assessment Targets.  In addition, the calculator will also be available for certain items in the Science and Social Studies tests.

Is using the electronic calculator quicker/slower than using a hand-held calculator? Has someone timed and compared answer response using both methods?

The onscreen calculator is just as responsive as a hand-held calculator and has been used by tens of thousands of test-takers in our 2012 field-testing program with no performance issues.

Will the calculator tutorials include videos that do not require YouTube? Many schools block YouTube at school.

The videos are in YouTube format because that is a format that is universally accessible on the widest range of computers and mobile devices.  If your institution blocks the videos you could consider accessing them from another location such as from home or from a public library.



On the formula sheet will the area of a circle, circumference of a circle, and area of a triangle be listed?

Only the formulas listed on the Formula Reference sheet as presented in the Item Samplers and the Assessment Guide for Educators are provided. Test-takers will be expected to know simpler formulas such as those you have listed when they come in to test.

I saw that many of the formulas on the current formulas’ page are not on the new formulas’ page. Does that mean that the students will need to have the basic formulas memorized?

Yes, test-takers will be expected to know certain basic formulas when they come in to their testing appointment.

Will students need to memorize formulas for area of rectangle/triangle/circle, or have those questions been eliminated from the test completely?

Test-takers are expected to know basic formulas such as area of a square, rectangle, triangle, or circle, perimeter, circumference of a circle, distance, measures of central tendency (mean, median, and mode), and total cost.