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GED Deadline Looms

The Valley News reported earlier this year that the General Education Development program would face substantial changes at the end of 2013. Those changes are nearly upon us, and people who are working their way through the GED program’s testing regime face a difficult deadline.

The major shift is a change from paper tests to tests that have to be taken on a computer. Students who haven’t completed the full five batteries of the current tests by Dec. 10 will have to start all over again next year. Even if someone has finished four of the five tests, it’s back to square one.

The consequences for not finishing are costly. The 2013 GED tests cost $17 each, for a total of $95 for all five exams. The computer tests that begin next year are slimmed down to four subject areas — reasoning through language arts, math reasoning, science and social studies — but the total cost to complete the new tests is $125.

The current exams are offered several times a month in locations around the Upper Valley. For more information, call the Vermont Adult Learning offices in White River Junction, 802-281-4311, North Springfield, 802-546-0879, or go to www.vtadultlearning.org

Field Test

Ten Upper Valley schools are among the 27 selected by the Vermont Agency of Education to field test a new testing program that, like the new GED, will be delivered on computers.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which is being developed by a consortium of 28 states and funded with a $175 million federal grant, is slated to begin in spring 2015 with new tests in math and English language arts. Smarter Balanced, which is tied to the new Common Core State Standards, will replace the existing New England Common Assessment Program tests, which many public school students in the Twin States are taking this month.

The schools that will field test the new assessment program won’t have to administer the NECAP tests, thanks to a waiver from the federal Department of Education. Perhaps that’s why 80 schools applied to be field testing sites.

The Upper Valley schools are Albert Bridge School in West Windsor; Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River; Hartland Elementary School; Waits River Valley Union School in East Corinth; Weathersfield School; Windsor High School and State Street School in Windsor; and Woodstock Elementary and Woodstock Union Middle and High schools.

The field testing is meant to ensure the new testing system works and to give educators an opportunity to explore its technological and logistical requirements.

Student of the Month

Lebanon High School’s student of the month for September is Nick Hanslin. A senior, Hanslin has taken an active role in academics, community service and leadership at the high school, Lebanon school officials said in an announcement.

Highly Ranked

According to the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation’s high school, congratulations are due to Oxbow Union High School, which was ranked the No. 2 high school in Vermont, and to Hanover High School, which was ranked fifth among New Hampshire high schools.

U.S. News bestowed a national rank of 1,187 on Oxbow, in Bradford, Vt., while Hanover High was ranked at No. 1,437.

Joining Oxbow and Hanover among the Silver Medal schools honored by U.S. News was Randolph Union High School. And Rivendell Academy in Orford and Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River received a bronze medal rating.

Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on student proficiency on state tests and on college preparedness. There were no gold medal schools in the Twin States.

Send school announcements to schoolnotes@vnews.com.