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09.37.01 - Workforce Development and Adult Learning - Pending Regulations

 

PROPOSED ACTION ON REGULATIONS
MARYLAND REGISTER, VOLUME 41, ISSUE 2
FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 2014

Subtitle 37 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND ADULT LEARNING

09.37.01 Alternate Ways to Earn a High School Diploma

Authority: Labor and Employment Article, §§11-807 and 11-808, Annotated Code of Maryland

Notice of Proposed Action
[14-026-P]

The Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation proposes to amend Regulations .01 — .20 under COMAR 09.37.01 Alternate Ways to Earn a High School Diploma.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this action is to bring the current regulations in line with recent changes to the governing statute, Labor and Employment Article, Title 11, Subtitle 8, Annotated Code of Maryland, as well as changes to the provision of the high school equivalency examination program, the GED. The GED tests will be available only in a computer-based format effective January 1, 2014.

Comparison to Federal Standards

There is no corresponding federal standard to this proposed action.

Estimate of Economic Impact

The proposed action has no economic impact.

Economic Impact on Small Businesses

The proposed action has minimal or no economic impact on small businesses.

Impact on Individuals with Disabilities

The proposed action has no impact on individuals with disabilities.

Opportunity for Public Comment

Comments may be sent to Patricia Tyler, Director of Adult Learning, Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, 1100 N. Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, or call 410-767-1008, or email to ptyler@dllr.state.md.us, or fax to 410-225-7208. Comments will be accepted through February 28, 2014. A public hearing has not been scheduled.

.01 Definitions.
  A. (text unchanged)
  B. Terms Defined.
    (1) “Applicant” means the individual who is seeking to take the GED® Tests.
    (2) “Candidate” means an individual who is deemed eligible to take the GED® Tests, is scheduled to sit for the GED® Tests, or has taken the GED® Tests.

    [(1)] (3) (text unchanged)
    (4) “GED®” means the nationally recognized high school equivalency test program.
    (5) “Module” means a single subject area being measured by the GED® Tests.

    [(2)] (6) — [(3)] (7) (text unchanged)

.02 [General Educational Development] GED® Testing Program Description.
  A. The [General Educational Development (GED)] GED® Tests offer an alternate and acceptable way for an individual [16 years old or older] who is older than the age required for compulsory school attendance set by Education Article, §7-301, Annotated Code of Maryland, to earn a Maryland high school diploma.
  B. Candidates who successfully complete the GED® Tests are awarded a Maryland high school diploma by the State Board and the Department.
  C. A successful GED® [graduate] candidate may not be awarded any other Maryland high school diploma either by the State Board or by a local school system.

.03 The GED® Tests — Scope and Content.
  A. The GED® Tests [include writing skills, social studies, science, interpreting literature and the arts, and mathematics. Each test measures the major subject area skills considered to be the outcomes of a high school education] will measure the major subject area skills required of a high school education as determined by the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument.
  B. The GED® Tests will be offered in modules of each of the major subject areas and each module may be scheduled separately.
  C. The GED® Tests are given on computer at an approved test center.

  [B.] D. The State Board shall review and approve the State [license] agreement with the Department and the [American Council on Education] national testing service issuing the GED® instrument.

.04 Applicant Eligibility.
An applicant is eligible to take the GED® Tests if the applicant:
  A. [Has been a Maryland resident for at least 3 months] Resides in the State of Maryland at the time of testing[, unless the Secretary has waived this requirement in accordance with the procedures set out in Regulation .18 of this chapter];
  B. [Is at least 16 years old] Is older than the age requirement for compulsory school attendance set by Education Article, §7-301, Annotated Code of Maryland; and
  C. (text unchanged)

.05 Date, Time, and Place of Testing.
  A. Various GED® test centers shall be operated throughout Maryland. [The GED testing application form lists locations of test centers.]
  B. [Test dates, times, and locations] Scheduling of the GED® Tests shall be done by the applicant via the internet. A link to the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument, locations of test centers and other pertinent information shall be posted on the Department's website and be available from the GED® Testing Office at the Department.

.06 Requirements for Applying to Take the GED® Tests.
  A. [At the time application is made to the Maryland GED Testing Office, an] An applicant shall be required to demonstrate identity, age, and residency by [attaching a copy of one of the following to the application] providing one of the following at the test center:
    (1) — (2) (text unchanged)
    (3) A current official photo ID issued to an incarcerated individual, with name, current address, date of birth, and signature, by the Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, or other residential facility accepted by the State GED® Administrator;
    (4) A current official photo ID issued to an individual, with name, current address, date of birth, signature, and current address issued by a residential facility accepted by the State GED® Administrator; or
    (5) (text unchanged)
  B. If none of the forms of identification and residency identified in §A of this regulation are attainable, prior to [making application to the Maryland GED Testing Office] scheduling a GED® test, the applicant may apply to the Secretary for a waiver in accordance with the procedures set out in Regulation .18 of this chapter. The applicant shall provide to the GED® Testing Office one or more forms of identification which collectively show name, address, date of birth, signature, and photograph. If the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee is satisfied that the documentation of identification is authentic and valid, and the individual meets age and residency requirements, the Secretary may issue a waiver. The applicant shall [attach the Secretary’s waiver to the application along with copies of] present the documentation submitted to the Secretary in support of the waiver [and shall present the waiver and supporting documentation at] to the test center.
  C. In addition to the documentation required in §A or B of this regulation, [as part of the application,] the applicant shall:
    (1) Provide the applicant's signature verifying his or her identity and residency in Maryland at the test center at the time of testing;
    (2) Remit the appropriate fee along with the completed application at the time of registration; and
    (3) For an applicant 18 years old or younger, present to the GED® Testing Office prior to the scheduling of a GED® test:
       (a) — (c) (text unchanged)

.07 Fee Schedule.
  A. The Department shall establish a reasonable fee schedule for the scheduling of tests, issuance of diplomas and transcripts, and related costs associated with the administration of the GED® Program.
  B. (text unchanged)

08 Admission to the GED® Test Center.
  A. Confirmation of test date and location shall be [mailed or] transmitted electronically to GED® candidates before the assigned test date.
  B. To be admitted to the test center, each candidate shall present documentation verifying identity, age, and Maryland residency as described in Regulation .06A of this chapter.

.09 Minimum Score Requirements for Award of Maryland High School Diploma.
  A. To qualify for a Maryland high school diploma, a candidate shall earn[:] the minimum passing score for each test module and the overall passing score for the entire battery of GED® Tests established by the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument.
    [(1) A standard score of at least 410 on each of the five tests; and
    (2) An average standard score of at least 450 on all five tests.]
  B. [Only tests taken within the past 5 years receive credit toward the diploma.] Once a candidate receives a passing score on an individual module, that score is valid for up to 60 months from the date taken or until a new series of tests has been issued by the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument, whichever comes first.

.10 Requirements for Retesting.
  A. Candidates who have failed one or more [parts] modules of the GED® Tests and candidates who fail to report to the test center on the assigned date [shall wait 2 months before retesting] may register for a retest and will be charged the applicable testing fee.
  B. Candidates who are retested shall be administered a different form of the GED® Tests from that previously administered.
  C. [Three test forms are] There is a maximum number of test forms available from the [GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education] national testing service issuing the GED® instrument in any 1-year period.
  D. A candidate who has taken all [three] forms of the Tests in a 1-year period is not eligible to retest until new forms of the GED® Tests are available from the GED® Testing Service.
  E. A candidate seeking to retest shall [return the admission card or retest request form to the Maryland GED Testing Office along with the appropriate rescheduling fee] register as proscribed in Regulation .05 of this chapter.

.11 Permanent Record Changes.
  A. Changes may not be made to a candidate’s record after the diploma has been awarded unless the changes are a result of an error on behalf of the GED® Office and can be verified as such.
  B. The State GED® Administrator shall make changes when the Maryland GED® Testing Office is known to be in error.

.12 Retention of Scores.
  A. Passing scores that result in the issuance of a Maryland high school diploma shall be retained in perpetuity by the Maryland GED® Testing Office.
  B. Passing, failing, and incomplete scores that do not result in the issuance of a Maryland high school diploma shall be retained by the Maryland GED® Testing Office for a period of up to 60 months. All scores will be retained by the Maryland GED® Testing Office for up to 60 months or until a new series of tests has been issued by the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument, whichever comes first. Upon the expiration of 60 months or with the issuance of a new test series, all scores attained on the previous series that did not result in the issuance of a diploma will expire.

.13 Foreign Language GED Tests.
  A. [The] Each module of the GED® Tests may be taken in [Spanish or French] foreign languages as available from the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument, except as indicated in §D of this regulation.
  B. If a candidate chooses to take a module in a foreign language, the entire module must be taken in the same language.
  C. Separate modules may be taken in different languages if available from the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument.

  [B.] D. [In addition to the Spanish or French version of the GED Tests, a candidate shall take the writing skills test] A candidate who chooses to take one or more modules in a foreign language must take the Reasoning Through Language Arts (RTLA) test module in English to demonstrate English proficiency.
  [C.] E. A candidate who obtains passing scores on the [Spanish or French] foreign language tests and on the [writing skills] RTLA test in English, and who obtains the required overall passing score, shall be awarded a Maryland high school diploma.

.14 Special Testing for Individuals with Disabilities.
  A. [Special editions of the GED Tests are available for individuals with disabilities. These include an audiocassette tape version, a large-print version, and a Braille version.] Accommodations for candidates with disabilities shall be made available. Individuals who request GED® testing accommodations shall provide appropriate documentation of their disability and the need for the requested testing accommodations, prior to scheduling.
  [B. Other special accommodations for candidates with disabilities shall be made available. Individuals who request GED testing accommodations shall provide appropriate documentation of their disability and the need for the requested testing accommodations, prior to scheduling.]
  [C.] B. An individualized assessment of each request for testing accommodations shall be made based on the documentation provided and in accordance with the documentation policies of the [GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education] national testing service issuing the GED® instrument.

.15 GED® Tests Taken Out of State.
  [A.] Results of GED® Tests taken within the past 5 years at official GED® testing centers outside Maryland may be used for credit toward a Maryland high school diploma, if a GED® credential has not been issued and if the test results are from the same series as issued by the national testing service issuing the GED® instrument.
  [B. An official copy of test scores shall be sent directly to the Maryland GED Testing Office from the test center where the credit was earned.]

.16 Testing for Individuals Whose High School Records Are Unobtainable.
  A. An applicant, high school graduate, or nongraduate whose records are unobtainable may take the GED® Tests and be awarded a diploma without verification of school withdrawal required in Regulation [.06D] .06C(3) of this chapter by:
    (1) Making a written request to the State GED® Administrator; and
    (2) (text unchanged)
  B. Based on the facts and extenuating circumstances of each case, the State GED® Administrator has discretion to grant or deny requests to take the GED® Tests without official verification of school withdrawal.

.17 Test Security.
  A. To protect the security of the tests, the integrity of the testing procedure, and the validity of test scores, the State GED® Administrator has authority to invalidate test scores and to require the candidate to retest.
  B. Misrepresentation of information on the GED® Tests application form may result in the revocation of the diploma.
  C. [The chief examiner at each test center has authority to request that a thumbprint of the candidate be taken at the time of testing if, in the chief examiner's judgment, additional verification of the candidate’s identity is necessary] Any violation of test center policy may result in ejection from the test center and invalidation of test scores.

.18 Waivers.
  A. Waivers to the requirements of Regulations [.04(A),] .06(A)[,] and .07 of this chapter are granted only by the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee in exceptional circumstances if it is in the candidate's best interest and in accordance with [this regulation] GED® testing standards.
  B. [Waiver of Withdrawal Prior to Application for Students with Disabilities.] If the candidate is a student with a disability who receives special education and related services from a public or nonpublic program, [the following additional requirements may apply] the candidate must request a waiver of withdrawal from the Secretary prior to registration which requires that:
    (1) The waiver application to the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee shall include a copy of the student's current individualized education program indicating:
      (a) That preparation for and taking of the GED® Tests is part of the student's transition plan pursuant to COMAR 13A.05.01.09A(3); and
      (b) Any accommodations that the student may need for the GED® Tests;
    (2) If it is necessary for the student to continue to attend school after the date of the filing of the waiver request in order to receive a free appropriate public education, the request shall indicate:
      (a) That the student will withdraw from school before the GED® testing date; and
      (b) (text unchanged)
    (3) The request shall be appended with a release that:
      (a) States that the parent has approved the waiver request and understands that receipt of a GED® diploma will conclude the student's eligibility for special education and related services;
      (b) — (c) (text unchanged)
    (4) Upon receipt of notice from the Department that the candidate has failed to pass the GED® Tests, the local school system shall convene an individualized education program team meeting pursuant to COMAR 13A.05.01.07—.08 to plan for:
      (a) The student's resumption of special education and related services within 90 days of the GED® Tests date; and
      (b) (text unchanged)
  C. The [Secretary's] decision of the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee on a waiver request is final.

.19 Diplomas.
  A. A Maryland high school diploma shall be awarded to all candidates who successfully complete the GED® Tests. Diplomas shall be awarded [monthly] within a month of successful completion.
  B. The diplomas shall be awarded by the State Board and the Department and shall bear the signatures of the Board President and the Secretary.

.20 Maryland Adult External High School Program.
  A. (text unchanged)
  B. Procedures for Administering the Maryland Adult External High School Program and the Issuance of a Diploma.
    (1) (text unchanged)
    (2) Local [school systems] grantees receiving Department funding to implement the Maryland Adult External High School Program shall operate the program according to NEDP standards and requirements in addition to provisions identified in annual requests for proposals and requirements determined by the Department.
    (3) Requirements for the program are described in manuals available at the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, 1100 North Eutaw Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. These manuals describe all diagnostic and assessment instruments, administrative procedures, evaluation criteria, eligibility of applicants, [time and place of testing,] and requirements for a diploma[, and reports of results to candidates].
    (4) [Eligibility.] Residents of Maryland 18 years old or older who are not currently enrolled in a high school, who are not high school graduates, and who pass a screening test are eligible to register for the program.
    (5) [Fees for Program Participation.] A registration fee shall be charged of each individual at the time of entering the program. If a student leaves the program before completion and subsequently elects to register at a later time, a new registration fee [shall] may be charged.
    (6) [Revision.] The required assessment instruments shall comply with the most current standards and materials of the NEDP program to assure that they are valid.
    (7) [Diplomas.] A Maryland high school diploma shall be awarded to each graduate upon certification by the External Diploma Regional Center Director that the program requirements have been satisfactorily met. Diplomas shall be awarded monthly. The diplomas shall be awarded by the State Board and the Department and shall bear the signatures of the Board President and the Secretary.

LEONARD J. HOWIE III
Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation