The GED in Canada is on its way out, and a Canadian-made-and-managed replacement is coming.
The Canadian Adult Education Credential (CAEC, which we pronounce “cake”) is coming in spring 2024.
CAEC has been in the works for just over three years, though the idea for a Canadian-made and managed assessment goes back over seven years. Originally, the plan was to phase out GED, but the American for-profit company that owns GED decided in March 2023 that the Canadian GED would end on December 31, 2023. This has been extended to May 3, 2024.
Replacing the Canadian GED
The Canadian version of the GED is from 2002. The technology used to score the tests is old and difficult to support, and the Canadian version uses an older software that is no longer supported by its parent company. The American and international versions of the tests do not use the same technology. The Canadian provinces and territories using GED asked for an update to the tests, but GED asked for funding to complete upgrades.
In 2014, GED updated the American and international versions of the tests. The Canadian GED Caucus (administrators of the GED for each province and territory, which at that time was all but British Columbia) decided it was time to look at something else.
Long before GED decided to cancel the tests, the Canadian provinces and territories were considering a replacement. After years of planning, an RFP was finally issued and awarded in 2019 to Alberta’s Department of Education. Alberta began working under the guidance of the Interprovincial-Territorial Steering Committee (ITSC). A full slate of new tests and a new system will be ready soon after GED ends.
The announcement of the Canadian GED being cancelled came as a surprise and made the work of Alberta and the ITSC much more important and urgent! There have been many phases of development including field testing, research, translation, and norm-referencing. So much work has been happening, not just in Alberta, but in the participating provinces and territory as well.
The CAEC will consist of five subject tests, like the GED (reading, writing, math, science, and social studies). The tests will be slightly increased in rigour compared to the GED. The tests will mainly be delivered on a computer. Accommodations will be available, including some universal accommodations which currently are not available with GED. CAEC will be based on the Canadian context, be culturally responsive to newcomers, be tailored to the needs of adults in Canada, and be inclusive of diverse cultures and perspectives, including indigenous, Francophone, and visible minorities.
One downside of doing something new is that there will not be a ‘big book’ like there is to prepare to write the GED. It may take a few years for standardized prep materials to exist. There will be a test-taker guide to help people prepare.\
Despite its issues, the GED does have longstanding brand recognition. Many employers and post-secondary education
establishments use “GED” as a stand-in for “high school equivalency” since there is often nothing else in many jurisdictions. It may take years for CAEC to have the brand recognition that GED has.
I already have my GED completed. What happens to it?
Nothing happens to completed GEDs. They continue to be valid, just like any earned credential cannot be taken from you.
I have a partially completed GED. If I do not complete it before the end of GED, do I have to start over with CAEC?
We will be able to recognize GED tests towards CAEC for up to 3 years after the start date of CAEC! This means candidates will not lose progress towards that they have made so far.