What the GED Measures
The GED measures your ability in four high school subjects: 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.
Potential employers and schools of higher learning are not allowed to ask high school graduates to take the GED test to verify high school grades. GED test scores should also not be used as an estimate of a test taker's grade point average or as an indicator of how a test taker would have done on other standardized tests.
Not every question on the GED is worth the same number of points, so you're given raw scores for each section. You can earn a total of:
- 40 raw score points for the Science section
- 44 raw score points for the Social Studies section
- 49 raw score points for the Mathematical Reasoning section
- 65 raw score points for the Reasoning through Language Arts section
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Extended Response Scores
The constructed response items, which include written response items on the Science and Reasoning through Language Arts sections, are computer-scored with an automated scoring engine (ASE) that replicates human scoring. The ASE evaluates three dimensions, which include:
- Creation of arguments and use of evidence
- Development of ideas and organizational structure
- Clarity and command of standard English conventions
Each of these dimensions has multiple sub-dimensions that receive a score. For example, the creation of arguments and use of evidence dimension has 12 sub-dimensions. You can score 0 to 2 points in each sub-dimension. All of the points awarded in each dimension are then divided by the number of sub-dimensions. So, if you score a total of 24 points in the 12 sub-dimensions of the creation of arguments and use of evidence dimension, you would have a score of two in that dimension, since 24 divided by 12 equals 2.
Common Scaled Scores
Raw scores can be difficult to understand, so GED scores are transformed to a common scaled score that runs from 100 to 200. You must score at least 145 to pass the GED. A score of 100 to 144 is considered a below passing score, a score of 145 to 164 is a passing score for high school equivalency, a score of 165-174 is a college ready score and indicates you have the necessary skills to be successful in college or a job, and a score of 175-200 is a college-ready plus credit score, which means that you are not only college-ready but also eligible for up to 3 credits in math, 3 credits in science, 3 credits in social studies, and 1 credit in English, depending on the postsecondary school or program that you choose to enroll in.
GED percentile scores show where you are ranked among graduating high school students and other people taking the GED test. The number is the percentage of people who got a lower score than you on the exam. For example, if you were in the 85th percentile, it means that you were in the top 15% and did better than 85% of test takers.
Need help preparing for the GED? Check out Study.com's GED Test Prep study guides, complete with bite-size video lessons, practice tests, informational resources, and more to make sure you ace the exam!