Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Background information on Kentucky's GED program

Release Date: June 3, 2004
Contact: Sue Patrick
Phone: (502) 573-1555

Note to Media--

  • The GED testing program in the state of Kentucky is administered by Kentucky Adult Education, Council on Postsecondary Education, through official GED test centers. The GED testing program will continue to be operated by Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE) if the Kentucky Board of Education approves a new curricular option for high school test-takers.
  • GED Testing Service is an arm of the American Council on Education. It develops, owns and administers the tests through contracted test centers. There are 50 official GED test centers in the state of Kentucky coordinated by Kentucky Adult Education.
  • The GED is a nationally standardized test that measures the academic skills and knowledge of a four-year high school curriculum in five core content areas--language arts/writing, math, language arts/reading, social studies and science.
  • The GED is a seven-and-a-half hour test battery based upon the knowledge of high school seniors. The test was revised in 2002 to reflect the higher graduation standards set by states. The test is based on a 60 percent pass rate of current high school seniors.
  • The GED is accepted by 95 percent of employers and postsecondary institutions as a high school equivalency diploma.

About the GED Option Program:

  • The Kentucky Board of Education is reviewing the GED Option Program. If the Option Program is approved by the Board of Education, it will not be a new state GED program. It will be a new GED preparation option. Other GED preparation options include studying at Kentucky's 120 County Adult Education Learning Centers, online learning through the Kentucky Virtual Adult Education website, and KET's GED Connections.
  • The American Council on Education's guidelines for the GED Option Program allows selected high school students to take the GED if they meet the criteria--they must be credit-deficient but academically capable and voluntarily agree to participate in the program. The American Council on Education sets the standards for states to participate in the program. The state may set additional standards above those required by the American Council on Education. There are currently 11 states participating in the GED Option Program.
  • GED Testing Service has the following national eligibility requirements for test-takers--they must be at least 16 years of age, have not received a high school diploma, and may not be enrolled in secondary school.
  • Kentucky's eligibility requirements require that a student be at least 17 years of age and be officially withdrawn from school for at least a year, or their last enrolled class must have graduated. Superintendents may grant 16-year-olds with exigent circumstances permission to take the test. If Kentucky adopts the GED Option Program, and if it is approved by the American Council on Education, a test-taker may take the test while still enrolled in secondary school. They would no longer have to meet the one-year official withdrawal requirement before taking the test. Students could stay with their class and pursue a GED.
  • There is a study period to prepare for the GED and KYAE requires that students demonstrate test readiness before taking the test. This is the same process for everyone enrolled in any GED program. The Option Program allows a student to study for the GED in the regular high school classroom setting with their peers. The student would focus class time on course work preparing for the GED. The Option Program may or may not speed up the process. It gives students an option to stay in school.
  • Students in the Option Program would take the same GED test that is administered nationwide and they would take the test at official Kentucky GED test centers.

Other Information:

  • The GED was developed in 1942 to enable returning veterans the opportunity to earn a high school credential.
  • More than 860,000 adults worldwide take the GED tests each year.
  • One out of every seven high school diplomas issued each year in the United States is based on passing the GED tests. In Kentucky, it is one out of five.
  • In Kentucky, 109,880 people were enrolled in adult basic education in FY2002-03.
  • In FY2002-03, 13,319 Kentuckians took the GED and 9,452 were awarded the GED. The pass rate was 71 percent.
  • Over 21 percent of Kentucky GED graduates in 2001 enrolled in a postsecondary institution within two years.

For additional information, please visit the Kentucky Adult Education website


Kentucky's Postsecondary Education System encompasses nine public institutions and numerous independent institutions and represents 229,061 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni, and 275,108 GED recipients. When Kentuckians earn postsecondary degrees, their skills improve and their wages go up; they are more likely to lead healthy lives and be engaged in their communities; and they build better futures for themselves and for their families.


Last Updated 8/3/2005