GED testing center opens at Eastern

By By Dick Mason The Observer July 02, 2012 02:33 pm

A new option is available for people in Northeast Oregon who need to earn their GED.

The option is one available at Eastern Oregon University and the only one of its kind in the western United States.

A computer-based GED testing center  has opened in room 105 of EOU’s Badgley Hall. The center is the only computer-based GED test site west of North Dakota, said Scott Salesses, field outreach manager for GED Testing Service,  a Washington, D.C. based company. Salesses was in La Grande for the recent opening of the center at EOU.

The opportunity to take GED tests via computer  will provide provide a number of advantages, including greater flexibility on test taking times and instant scores for all but one portion of the test, Salesses said.

Tim Seydel,  EOU vice president for university advancement and admission, said the opening of the center will extend the university’s ability to serve its region. 

“This is a stepping stone for improved educational access,’’ said  Seydel said.

The GED is a  high school equivalency  certificate issued by the state. 

Computer GED testing sites first became available in the United States earlier this year. The centers are presently in 11 states. Previously  GED  tests could be taken only via paper because a secure computer system for its administration had been created. GED tests  test can not taken via the internet  because of security issues,  Salesses said. 

To earn a GED one must pass separate tests for reading, social studies, science, math and writing. All of those tests can be scored instantly when taken via computer except the  writing exam. The writing test includes an essay which must be sent to out to be scored.

Dominic Clay, 16,  of La Grande was among the first people to take some of his GED tests at the center. Clay, a home school student, is earning his GED because it will make it easier for him to enroll in classes at EOU later this year. He said he felt comfortable taking the tests via computer.

The new testing center will serve a very important role in Northeast Oregon for after December it will be the only site in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties where the GED can be taken. GED  tests can now be taken via paper and pencil  at Training and Employment Consortium centers in La Grande, Enterprise and Baker City. GED tests will not be given at these centers after this time because of funding issues. This heightens the significance of the new testing center at EOU.

“EOU is filling a critical need,’’ said Dan Koopman, associate vice president of instruction at Blue Mountain Community College.    

The new testing center will be run with help of a part time continuing education coordinator EOU was able to hire because of funding provided by Union County. This individual  will coordinate operation of the testing center, help link students to services provided by regional community colleges including  BMCC  and much more. Koopman said the Union County Board of Commissioners deserve a lot of credit for stepping forward to provide the funding needed for this position.

People can take tests at the new GED center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost for each of the five GED tests is $31. Scholarships are available from the EOU Foundation  to help cover this expense.

People interested in taking their GED tests at Eastern’s new center should call 541-962-3788.