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Policies And Guidelines For 
General Educational Development (GED)
In North Dakota

Revised: February 08, 2012

Adult Education and Literacy
Department of Public Instruction
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck ND 58505-0440
Phone: (701) 328-2393
Fax: (701) 328-4770

Valerie Fischer, State GED Administrator

Jolli Marcellais, Administrative Staff Officer


General Information

A high school diploma is a minimum qualification for almost all types of employment and for admission to most post-secondary, educational, and vocational programs. Without it, advancement in many fields is almost impossible. Because of the importance of a high school diploma, the North Dakota General Educational Development (GED) program was established by the Department of Public Instruction more than 55 years ago.

This program was established to assist people who have not completed a formal high school program leading to graduation from a high school. The North Dakota GED High School Diploma is based upon the successful completion of the five General Educational Development (GED) tests: Language Arts - Writing, Language Arts – Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Math.

Persons who pass the GED test, receive the North Dakota GED High School Diploma from the Department of Public Instruction. The completion of the GED program does not replace the regular established procedures for completing a high school program. The North Dakota GED High School Diploma is intended only for those persons who withdrew from their regular high school program.

Requirements for GED testing

In order to earn a North Dakota GED High School Diploma, a person must not have graduated from an accredited high school.  The minimum age for enrollment and testing in North Dakota is sixteen (16). However, any student who wishes to take the GED, should visit with the Adult Learning Center staff prior to taking the exam to assess readiness to take and pass the GED tests. 


Required Tests

All candidates who wish to earn a North Dakota GED High School Diploma must take and pass the required tests:

  • Language Arts - Writing
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Language Arts - Reading
  • Mathematics

Test Content

The Language Arts, Writing Test has two parts: part one has 50 questions and part two requires writing a short essay. The time allowed for the Language Arts, Writing Test is two hours - 75 minutes to answer the part one and 45 minutes to write the essay.

The Social Studies Test is 70 minutes in length. It is administered in a multiple-choice format and measures the critical thinking skills of comprehension, application, analysis, and evaluation. The test measures concepts and skills from the following content areas: United States and world history 40%, civics and government 25%, economics 20%, geography 15%.

The Science Test is 80 minutes in length. The GED Science test includes the following content area: life science 45%, earth and space science 20%, and physical science 35%. The GED test is administered in a multiple-choice format. 

The Language Arts, Reading Test is 65 minutes in length. The Language Arts, Reading test is 40 items in length and is divided into the following content area: literary context 75%, and nonfiction text 25%. The literary and non-fiction selections in the Reading tests depict a range of ethnic backgrounds, ages, gender, and regional backgrounds.  

The Mathematics Test is 90 minutes in length and is administered in two parts. The examinee may use a calculator (provided by the test center) for Part One. Part Two is completed without a calculator. Part One is a multiple-choice test with six alternate formats and one coordinate plane grid. An examinee is allowed 45 minutes to complete the 25 questions in Part One.


Preparing to Take the Tests

Candidates are not required to take any courses or to prepare in any way for the GED test. However, candidates may wish to improve their skills by attending one of the North Dakota Adult Learning Centers or by studying at home with materials provided by the Centers.


Administration of the GED Tests

  1. Initial Testing 

    In order to be eligible to take the required tests for a North Dakota GED High School Diploma, the candidate must satisfy the non-graduation and age eligibility requirements described previously. 
  1. Retesting 
  • A candidate who has tested previously for the North Dakota GED High School Diploma must meet the following requirements for retesting:
  • The candidate must wait a minimum period of 15 working days before retesting, and,
  • The candidate must retest on a form of the tests that he/she has not taken previously. Retesting is permitted on the entire battery or on certain test(s) in the battery. There is no limit on the retesting allowed, although availability of alternate test forms may limit the number of possible retests. If the candidate does not meet the requirements for retesting, the candidate will be notified by the local test center.
  • GED graduates who have earned a North Dakota GED High School Diploma, but would like to earn a higher GED test score are eligible to retake the GED tests.
  • A candidate who retests will be given credit for the highest score earned to date on each test.
  1. General Procedures for Testing
    A candidate should contact an approved GED Testing Center to discuss the testing procedures and for an appointment for testing. While it may be possible to take all five tests at one time in some Centers, it is advised that the student take no more than one – two tests at a time.  The Adult Learning Center staff can best advise the student.

Modification to Test Administration

If a student has a disability and wishes to request test accommodations, the Adult Learning Center staff or GED Chief Examiner can help the student complete the necessary request for accommodation form (see forms on this website).  The request should also include, in writing, documentation (from an appropriate professional person) of the candidate's disability and should recommend appropriate test administration modification to meet the candidate's disability.

The Chief Examiner at the local test center will review any requests for Test Accommodations and help determine the most appropriate accommodations with the student, using GED Testing Service guidance and recommendations.  This information is then sent to the State Office for approval.  Upon state approval, the chief examiner at the test center will be notified and advised to make arrangements for appropriate modification within the guidelines prescribed by the GED Testing Service.


Score Requirements and Reporting of Scores

The student who has met the eligibility requirements will be awarded a diploma from the Department of Public Instruction when he/she has successfully taken and passed all five (5) GED exams with a minimum standard score of 410 on each of the five exams and an average standard score of 450 for all five exams.


Reporting of Test Results

Each student will be notified of his/her test results as soon as possible after testing. A student who meets all the requirements will receive an original diploma and transcript.  A duplicate transcript and/or diploma can be requested in writing to the Department of Public Instruction. There is a *$2.00 processing fee for each transcript and a *$10.00 processing fee for each duplicate diploma.

 * Subject to change without notice.


Additional Information

Most individuals earn their North Dakota GED High School Diploma by taking the required tests at a North Dakota test center. However, there are some people who test outside the state, but prefer a diploma from the State of North Dakota. 

  1. Persons Testing Outside of North Dakota
    The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction may accept GED test scores obtained by a candidate who takes the test outside the state. The candidate must meet the age and minimum score requirement in effect in North Dakota at the time of application. If a person takes a test outside of North Dakota and fails that State's minimum requirement, that person may retest in North Dakota, pay the appropriate fee, and earn North Dakota required passing scores.
  1. GED Test Scores Obtained in Another State
    The tests must be taken at an official test center. An original certified score report (transcript) must be sent directly to the Department of Public Instruction by the Official GED Test Center.
  1. GED Test Scores Obtained in Military Service
    A certified transcript must be forwarded directly to the Department of Public Instruction by DANTES, the GED Testing Service or an official state testing agency.
  1. Test Scores Obtained through the GED Testing Service
    American civilians or foreign nationals who are stationed overseas at military bases and test through the National GED. Testing Service may use those scores to obtain a North Dakota Diploma if they meet all North Dakota requirements. The candidate must request the National GED Service to forward an official transcript and application to the Department of Public Instruction. 
  1. Testing Fees and Diploma Issuance Policy
  1. GED Testing fees are determined by each Adult Learning Center or testing center. The fee is based upon the cost of the test and the processing time required.
  2. North Dakota GED High School Diplomas are issued by the Department of Public Instruction to examinees who have met the minimum requirements. It takes approximately 7-15 days to process scores.
  3. The first diploma will be issued free of charge to the applicant. Duplicate copies can be issued at a cost of *$10.00 each. The department will issue transcripts based upon a written request by the applicant. The processing fee for each transcript will be *$2.00.
  4. All out-of-state applications will require a $10.00 processing fee except those individuals who are serving in the armed forces.

     *Fees subject to change without prior notice.


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North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440

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