As the Allied forces were closing in on victory in World War II, the US Congress passed the GI Bill, a landmark piece of legislation that afforded every returning soldier and sailor the opportunity to go to college for free. There was just one problem. Many of these brave veterans enlisted before they had finished high school. So as a means of measuring in our young heroes the competency and proficiency of the General Educational Development of high school skills, the GED test was born.

Like America itself, the GED test has grown up since then. An essay was added to the test in 1988, and in January 2014 the GED test was completely redesigned. It now tests critical thinking skills across a wide spectrum. Students must be able to

  • Analyze technical documents
  • Evaluate extensive historical abstracts
  • Develop hypotheses and design experiments to test them
  • Solve linear equations, factor polynomials, and calculate the volume and surface area of three dimensional figures
  • Assess and construct a written argument
  • Perform challenging tasks within a limited period of time.



It is not an easy test. But studies have shown that GED students compete well against diploma students in college, and often outperform them.




How does the GED work?

Students must pass a test in each of four subject areas – Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Math. Tests are taken one at a time on a computer in the testing center on the SOCC campus.

How much does the GED cost?

The cost of the tests ($38 each) is covered by Coos Bay Public Schools. Test retakes cost the student $10 each.

How is GED scored?

The tests are scored by computer on a range of 100 to 200. A passing score is 145. A score of 165 or higher is deemed College Ready. This score enables students to forgo the placement tests at Oregon community colleges. A score of 175 or higher is deemed College Ready plus Credit. These students automatically earn up to 10 hours of college credit at participating colleges and universities.

How tough is the GED test, really?

Tough. But not so tough if you study. Oregon students pass at a 92% success rate (6th highest in the nation) and Harding students pass with a 95% success rate.

How do I get started?

Schedule an interview with Mr. Inskeep, the Harding principal, or Mr. McKelvey, the GED teacher. We’ll talk about the test and your situation. Then you’ll take a series of four pretests to determine your strengths and weaknesses for passing the GED test. Once we decide that the GED is a good fit for you, Mr. McKelvey will help you set some GED goals and design a course of study to meet them.

How long will it take me to earn my GED?

Each student is different. Students with well-developed skills can finish in a month or less. Students who need more work will take longer, maybe a full academic year. The keys to success are good attendance and hard work.

When and where is GED class?

We follow the Harding Destinations school calendar. Two GED classes meet in Room 318. The first meets in the morning from 8:00 to 11:00 am. An afternoon class meets from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. On Fridays classes meet to study Math from 8:00 to 9:30 am, or 10:00 to 11:30 am. All GED students must attend one of these classes. Students can get here via the MHS bus and they are eligible for breakfast and lunch.

What it I don’t live in Coos Bay?

That’s OK. You can attend by applying for an Intra-District Transfer (IDT) at the office.

Can I bring my cellphone?

Yes, but the GED class operates as a “Cell Phone Free Zone.” You will need to keep your cellphone on Airplane Mode.

When can I start?

Tomorrow! Just give us a call at 541-267-1485 or drop by the Harding Learning Center at 755 S. 7th St (down the hill from Marshfield HS).



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