Alabama GED Policy Manual

Tests of General Educational Development

Effective October 1, 2009

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INTRODUCTION. The State Board of Education has the duty to provide to individuals who are unable to successfully complete the requirements necessary to earn a high school diploma the opportunity to be administered the Tests of General Educational Development (GED Test). The Chancellor, Department of Postsecondary Education has the duty to develop policies and employ the staff necessary for program administration. The Chancellor also has the duty to apply sanctions, including permanent closure, to those GED Test Centers failing to comply with the policies found in this manual or the American Council on Education’s GED Testing Service policies and procedures manual. The GED Test is a high-stakes test. Scores are used to make critical decisions resulting in important consequences for not only the examinee, but also other stakeholders. Individuals involved with the testing program shall be held accountable for fulfilling their professional obligations and personal responsibilities to promote the program’s integrity. GED Examiners shall not deviate from Alabama’s Test of General Educational Development (GED) Policy Manual without written authority from the Chancellor. Under no circumstances shall deviations from the GED Testing Service’s GED Examiner’s Manual or the GED Administrator’s Manual be made. Even though extensive efforts have been made to address all relevant matters, circumstances not specifically addressed in this manual may periodically arise. In the rare instance that such a situation should occur, then accommodating the examinee’s needs may be considered. Regardless of the perceived need, American Council on Education’s GED Testing Service policies or the Tests of General Educational Development (GED) Policy Manual or the GED Administrator’s Manual will not be violated; an examinee will not be provided an advantage or other special consideration not specifically allowed by GEDTS policies, or one that will compromise the program’s integrity. Special consideration requests should be mailed to the State Administrator, GED Testing Program, 135 South Union, Montgomery, Alabama 36104. The state administrator shall make a written recommendation to the Chancellor through the Vice Chancellor, Instructional and Student Services, regarding the disposition of the request. The applicant shall receive written notification of the Chancellor’s decision, which shall be final. This policy manual does not supersede, but complements, the American Council on Education’s GED Testing Service’s (ACE/GEDTS) policies addressed in the most current GED Examiner’s Manual for the Tests of General Educational Development and the GED Administrator’s Manual. 1. State of Alabama High School Equivalency Diploma. The Chancellor may award a State of Alabama High School Equivalency Diploma on behalf of the State Board of Education to candidates meeting the eligibility requirements prescribed herein and who have attained a standard score of not less than four hundred ten (410) on each of the five (5) tests comprising the GED Test battery AND an average standard score of not less than four hundred fifty (450) on the test battery (2250 total points). The diploma shall include the signatures of the Governor, State of Alabama, and the Chancellor, Department of Postsecondary Education. Certificates shall be printed with the Seal of the State Board of Education and the Alabama Great Seal. The DPE shall maintain an electronic

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record of each diploma issued, to include the recipient’s name, social security or tax identification number, issuance date, and the diploma’s unique identification number. Operating an Official GED Test Center: Official GED Test Centers may only be authorized to operate at member institutions of the Alabama Community College System, city/county local education agencies, institutions of higher education accredited by agencies recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, or other state agencies when deemed appropriate by the Chancellor. Eligibility Criteria. In order to be administered the GED Test, candidates shall: a. Not be enrolled in a public K-12 school, or a private K-12 school registered with the Alabama Department of Education. b. Not be a non-U.S. citizen participating in a government approved exchange program. c. Not have earned a secondary school diploma from a public school or a private school registered with the Alabama Department of Education or the equivalency of a post secondary diploma from another state. NOTE: Those awarded the Alabama Occupational Diploma (AOD) as defined in §290-3-1-.02(8)(g) of the Alabama State Board of Education Administrative Code are eligible to take the GED Test so long as other criteria are met. d. Meet one of the following requirements: i. Eighteen (18) years of age or older.
ii. Seventeen (17) years of age, exited an Alabama public school and present to the GED Examiner a notarized Student Exit Interview form from the school system and a notarized letter from a parent/legal guardian giving permission to administer the GED Test to the applicant. iii. Sixteen (16) years of age, exited an Alabama public and present to the GED Examiner a notarized Certificate of Exemption issued by his/her local superintendent and a notarized letter from a parent/legal guardian giving permission to administer the GED Test to the applicant. iv. Sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age, resident of Alabama, exited a private school, a church school, or a private tutor program and must present to the GED Examiner and a notarized letter from a parent/legal guardian that the applicant has exited the school/program and has permission to be administered the GED Test and evidence of withdrawal on program letterhead. ** Alabama residency is required for applicants under eighteen (18) years of age.

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IDENTIFICATION OF U.S. CITIZENS: The U.S. Social Security Number (SSAN) shall be used in all record keeping systems for the purpose of identification verification. Candidates shall also present to the GED Examiner a valid government identification card that includes the applicant’s photograph,

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legal name, birth date, address, and signature. A current identification card issued by a member institution of the Alabama Community College System is also acceptable as long as the candidate’s photograph, name, birth date, address, and signature are included. Expired identification documents are not acceptable. Identification documents suspected of being forged/altered are not acceptable and shall be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities. IDENTIFICATION OF NON-U.S. CITIZENS. Non-citizens are eligible to take the GED Tests so long as they meet the identification and eligibility requirements established by the GED Testing Service and the State of Alabama. Non-citizens may provide an identification card issued by their native government that includes the applicant’s photograph, legal name, birth date, address, and signature. A current identification card issued by a member institution of the Alabama Community College System is also acceptable as long as the candidate’s photograph, name, birth date, address, and signature are included. Non-citizens shall also be required to present their U.S. Social Security Number if admitted to the U.S. in a work-status. If admitted to the U.S. in a non-work status, the U.S. Tax Identification Number may be used. No temporary U.S. issued identification numbers or any other identification numbers are acceptable (this includes the J-Visa which is issued to non-citizens participating in an exchange program). Expired identification documents are not acceptable. Identification documents suspected of being forged/altered are not acceptable and shall be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities. FRENCH AND SPANISH GED TESTS: On January 1, 2004, the transcript of candidates electing to be administered the GED Test in a language other than English will reflect that the test was printed in that language. Those candidates may also elect to take the GEDTS’ English Reading Comprehension Test. Candidates achieving a standard score of not less than four hundred (400) on the ESL Test will have demonstrated English reading proficiency according to GEDTS’ minimum score standards and this will be reflected on the Official Transcript of GED Tests Results. FEES. Standard accounting and auditing procedures that are sound, ethical, and comply with the policies of the agency/institution providing GED Test services shall be used to manage GED Test funds. The Chancellor shall establish the official GED Test fee structure. Test centers shall have in place written polices regarding the disposition of GED Test fees paid by preregistered examinees, but who do not report for a scheduled test or re-test date. Allowances should be shown for candidates presenting valid reasons for missing a scheduled test date (e.g. medical or family emergencies). Candidates shall be notified of the forfeiture policy. GED TEST INVOICE SYSTEM. DPE shall issue a monthly invoice to each Official GED Test Center by the 5th of month. TESTING/RETESTING PROCEDURES. Candidates administered the test for the first time are expected to take the test during a single administration. The only exceptions are that (1) the candidate has been approved for special testing accommodations per GED Testing Service policies or (2) the candidate has demonstrated to the Chief GED Examiner a demonstrated inability to

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complete the test battery in a single administration because of transportation or child care needs, or work or family responsibilities. Regardless, candidates administered the GED Test for the first time must complete the entire test battery within ninety (90) days from the date the first test was administered. Those who are unable or unwilling to do so, will have their answer sheets destroyed. The examinee will be required to wait not less than six (6) weeks (42 calendar days) before being allowed to retest using an alternate test form. Under no circumstances will the examinee be allowed to take the same test form more than once during any calendar year. Examinees completing the test battery, but who achieve a standard score of less than four hundred ten (410) on each of the five (5) tests comprising the GED Test battery AND/OR an average standard score of less than four hundred fifty (450) on the test battery (2250 total points) shall not be eligible to be re-administered the GED Test, in whole or in part, for a period of not less than six (6) weeks, (42 calendar days). RECORDS MAINTANENCE. Official GED Test Centers shall maintain a record for each person who has applied for and/or has been administered the GED Test. Records shall include examinee’s application, supporting documentation, and test results. The records of those who achieve the scores necessary to earn the State of Alabama High School Equivalency Diploma shall be maintained for a period of not less than one year. The records of those who fail to achieve the scores necessary to earn the certificate shall be permanently maintained. If a center is deemed to be closed, the Chancellor shall designate another center in the area to maintain all of the permanent records of the closed center. EVALUATING OFFICIAL GED TEST CENTERS. An evaluation instrument designed using GEDTS guidelines will be used to monitor not less than 25 (%) percent of GED Test Centers annually. The center evaluations will be conducted through onsite reviews of testing programs, facilities and personnel. In addition, DPE procedures will be reviewed to ensure that each center monitored is complying with stated DPE policies as outlined in the Alabama GED Policy Manual. Upon completion of a center onsite visit, a detailed written report to include observations, findings and recommendations for program improvement will be completed by the DPE evaluator. The report will be reviewed and/or revised within the DPE. A final report will then be forwarded to the center’s Chief Examiner and appropriate program supervisor(s). Chief Examiners and/or their direct supervisor will be expected to respond, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the evaluation outlining corrective action being taken for any findings listed in the report. Supervisors and/or examiners may also challenge any findings by providing supporting documentation. Follow-up site visits will be scheduled by DPE as needed and unscheduled visits will occur. Significant findings may result in program closure. ACCESSING GED DATA ON-LINE. Each Official GED Test Center shall provide Internet connectivity so that GED data may be retrieved. Examiners shall be required to access the GED database on a weekly basis to review candidates personal information and scores, to ensure candidates are not

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administered the same form of the test more than once, to verify candidates have not been administered the test more than three times during the calendar year, and to print candidates’ Official Report of Scores. CORRECTION PROCEDURES. GED examiners are required to review the online status of their examinees on a weekly basis. If any information is missing or a correction is required then the GED examiner must notify DPE with a detailed email. CANDIDATE NOTIFICATION. GED Examiners shall be required to provide written notification to each candidate regarding GED Test results within ten (10) business days of the results posting to the website. The notification shall include only an Official Report of Scores with an original signature and under no circumstances shall a notification include any reports (i.e. – Test History) from the GED website. Additionally, candidates failing to achieve the necessary scores shall be informed of the six-week waiting period before being allowed to retest, as well as any other pertinent information. OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS AND CERTIFICATES. DPE will mail all official transcripts and certificates within ten (10) business days. PROCEDURES FOR SHIPMENT OF GED TESTS. GED testing centers are required to mail all test packages within two (2) business days of the test date to the GED Scoring vendor. All packages must be mailed through an online traceable courier such as USPS, UPS, FedEx or DHL. Shipment must be prepared according to the official DPE Procedures for Preparing Test Packages and using the official DPE documents. DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE/TRANSCRIPT or NAME CHANGE. Recipients shall complete a GED Form 3, Request for Diploma, Transcript, or Name Change. Completion instructions are found on the form. The DPE may charge $10 (U.S.) for each request. The DPE will only accept money orders or certified checks; however, walk-ins may pay with exact cash. DPE officials shall maintain a record of all transactions and shall issue the customer a receipt. This fee may be waived for incarcerated inmates. RELEASE OF GED INFORMATION. Release of GED information is prohibited without written authorization from the candidate. In the case of a candidate who is 16 or 17 years of age and is required to have a parent’s/legal guardian’s written permission to take the test, information may be released to the parent/guardian signing the notarized permission letter. Information shall not be released over the phone, e-mail messaging, or by facsimile. In accordance with the Education Department of General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), §99.31(a)(1), adult education supervisors have legitimate educational interests in their students’ GED Test results for National Reporting System for Adult Education and for continual program improvement (Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, P.L. 105-220) matters only; however, this information shall not be released to any other parties. Nonetheless, adult education supervisors shall provide written notification to adult education students of the GED Test result records that are accessible to them, the purpose of accessing these records, and a statement testifying that these records shall not be released to any other party.

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RELEASE OF INFORMATION TO CITY/COUNTY BOARDS OF EDUCATION: City/County board of education officials have a need to retrieve information regarding students whose whereabouts are unknown for National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reasons. If these officials make a written request on agency letterhead, then GED Test Center officials may verify for them whether or not students have earned the Alabama High School Equivalency Certificate and if so, the test date. No other information may be provided. GED TEST SCORES FROM OTHER STATES. Alabama will consider accepting GED Test scores from those candidates who are legal residents of Alabama, but were administered the complete battery of the 2002 version of the test in another state or U.S. Territory. Only an Official Report of Scores or an Official Transcript of GED Tests Results submitted by the state or territory’s GED Administrator to Alabama’s GED Administrator will be considered— partial scores on any test battery will not be accepted. Scores submitted by the candidate or scores that resulted from the administration of the previous version of the GED Test will not be considered for possible award of the State of Alabama High School Equivalency Diploma. SCORE REPORTS/VERIFICATIONS. If requested for employment or educational reasons, original Official Reports of Scores or Official Transcript of GED Tests Results or a verification on department letterhead should be sent directly to employers or admissions officers. GED recipients must make a written request, either by mail or in person. In addition to the address where the score report should be mailed, requests must include full name, address, date of birth, social security/tax identification number, and signature. Verifications may be sent by facsimile machine but sending scores by facsimile machine to any party or entity is prohibited. A fee of not more than ten dollars ($10) may be charged for this service. Official Transcript of GED Tests Results will continue to be provided by this department.

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DEFINITIONS 1. Adult Education Program. A program of instruction as defined in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Title II, The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (P.L. 105-220). 2. Alabama Occupational Diploma (AOD). A diploma option for students with disabilities as defined by the Individual with Disabilities Act (Public Law 101476) may earn course credits outlined in Alabama Administrative Code, Rule 290-3-1-.02(8)(g)1. 3. Church School. Includes only such schools as offer instruction in Grades K-12, or any combination thereof including the kindergarten, elementary, or secondary level, and are operated as a ministry of a local church, group of churches, denomination, and/or association of churches on a nonprofit basis which do not receive any state or federal funding [Code of Alabama (1975), §16-28-1(2)]. 4. Incarcerated. For GED testing purposes, the incarcerated are those individuals in a prison, jail, reformatory, work farm, detention center halfway house, community-based rehabilitation center, or any other similar institution designed for the confinement or rehabilitation of criminal offenders. 5. Institutionalized. For GED testing purposes, the institutionalized are those individuals confined and/or assigned to mental, medical, or other special institutions. 6. Legal Custodian: For the purposes of GED Testing, a legal custodian is a warden (or other similar term) exercising control over the incarcerated or the chief official of an agency exercising control over the institutionalized. 7. Legal Resident. For the purposes of GED Testing, a legal resident is one who maintains a domicile in Alabama. Residents are expected to possess Alabama documents, such as a valid driver’s license, proof of voter registration, vehicle registration certificate, or proof of having paid resident income taxes. Military personnel stationed in Alabama, dependents of legal residents, and legal aliens may be allowed to take the GED Test in Alabama. 8. Private School. Includes only such schools that hold a certificate issued by the State Superintendent of Education showing that such school conforms to the following requirements: a. The instruction in such schools shall be by persons holding certificates issued by the State Superintendent of Education. b. Instruction shall be offered in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this state. c. The English language shall be used in giving instruction.

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d. A register of attendance shall be kept which clearly indicates every absence of each child from such school for a half-day or more during each school day of the school year [Code of Alabama (1975), §16-28-1(1)]. 9. Private Tutor. Instruction by a private tutor means and includes only instruction by a person who holds a certificate issued by the State Superintendent of Education and who offers instruction in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of Alabama for at least three hours a day for one hundred forty (140) days each calendar year, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and who uses the English language in giving instruction. Such private tutor shall, prior to beginning the instruction of any child, file with the county superintendent of education where his place of instruction is in territory under the control and supervision of a county board of education, or the city superintendent of education where his place of instruction is in territory under the control and supervision of a city board of education, a statement showing the child or children to be instructed, the subjects to be taught, and the period of time such instruction is proposed to be given. Such tutor shall keep a register of work showing daily the hours used for instruction and the presence or absence of any child being instructed and shall make such reports as the State Board of Education may require [Code of Alabama (1975), §16-28-5].

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