GED FAQs: How Is the GED Scored?

Passing the General Educational Development exam (GED) qualifies someone without a high school diploma for an equivalent credential. In most states and jurisdictions, test takers must score at least 150 on each of its four tests.

What Do GED Test Scores Mean?

What the GED Test Measures

The GED tests measure an adult's ability in the four areas associated with completing a high school education: Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning through Language Arts. Since the GED credential is used as an equivalent to a high school diploma, the test demonstrates how an individual compares to a graduating high school senior in that same year. Created and administered by the American Council on Education (ACE), the GED exam has been designed with the same difficulty level required to pass a standard high school curriculum.

How the GED Test Should Not be Used

Potential employers and schools of higher learning are not allowed to ask someone to take the GED tests to verify their high school graduate's grades or diploma. GED test scores also should not be used as an estimate of a test taker's grade point average or how they would have done on other standardized tests. The GED tests do not measure non-cognitive skills such as an individual's ethics or leadership ability, according to ACE.

Raw Scores

Unlike previous versions of the GED, the current exam's questions are not worth 1 point each. Instead, different questions will be worth different score points. The new test forms are based on raw score points. The GED Testing Service provides the following breakdown of raw score points:

  • Science - 40 raw score points
  • Social Studies - 44 raw score points.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - 49 raw score points
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts - 65 raw score points

Extended Response Scores

Three separate sets of scorers evaluate the two extended response sections of the exam, with each scorer set focusing on a specific trait. The three traits scored are:

  • Creation of Arguments and Use of Evidence
  • Development of Ideas and Organizational Structure
  • Clarity and Command of Standard English Conventions

Each trait is scored between 0 and 2 points.

The Standard Score

With the introduction of the 2014 GED exam, the previous scale ranges (200-800), passing score (450), and standard deviation (100) became obsolete. The 2014 GED exam uses a score scale of 100 to 200. A score of 150 scaled points in each subject area is the minimum score required for passing the exam. To establish a GED with Honors, a minimum score of 170 is required in each subject area.

The Percentile Ranking

The GED percentile scores shows where a test-taker is ranked among all those taking the GED test, and among the graduating high school students. The number is the percentage of persons who got a lower score than the test taker on that exam. Someone in the 85th percentile would have done better than 85% of test takers, and is thus in the top 15% for that test.

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