WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Fewer people are passing their GED tests in Winnebago County and that could be due to what some would call tougher standards, a computerized system and a higher fee.
Pencils and bubble sheets are out and computers are in; it's the new way to take the General Education Development (GED) test in Illinois.
"It's easier to focus on the one thing instead of having to look at one paper and fill in on the other," says Amanda Follman.
Follman just got her GED this year. Last year, 2,064 people took the test and 1010 of them, or about half, received their GED.
So far this year, 264 people have taken the test and only 54 people have got their GED, that's about 20 percent. However, 150 people still haven't taken all parts of the test this year.
"A lot of them, the only thing they have left to test is the constitution, which brings down our numbers," explains Josefina Sanchez, GED Services Coordinator.
Another big difference with the GED test is it's based on common core standards, which is more about applying what you know as opposed to memorization.
"You don't just do computation and come up with an answer and bubble that in anymore, now you have to apply what you've read to get your answer, you have to be able to summarize and analyze that data you've been reading," said Dr. Lori Fanello, Regional Superintendent of Winnebago and Boone counties.
Follman believes the content is more challenging.
"It was pretty difficult. The new tests are more reading comprehension and essays."
The cost of the GED test has increased from $50 to $120. People can apply for vouchers through Goodwill and there are free prep classes in the area, at Rock Valley College, Highland Community College and Roosevelt in Rockford.
For more information on taking the GED, click the attached link.