Changes Coming to the RLA Test Screen & Score Reports

In “Changes You’ve Been Asking for: The RLA Test Screen & Score Reports,” our professional development and assessment teams discussed the format changes in the RLA test that students will see in 2019. 

Over the last few years many educators and students have given us a great deal of feedback related to the RLA test interface and suggested changes. In the webinar we reviewed the following upcoming changes to the test:

  • The response box will be greatly enlarged on the right-hand side of the display. Students will be able to view, write and edit their response more easily.
  • The instructions will be reformatted and made clearer on the left-hand side of the display.  The instructions have not changed, but the information that is accessed by clicking on the “ER Answer Guidelines” will now be more accessible as part of the instructions.
  • The instructions will appear with selected words in bold type. When a student reads only these bolded words, they can still understand the task.
  • These enhanced instructions will also appear on all accommodated tests, GED Ready® and Spanish tests.
  • The reading material which is currently presented across multiple tabs will be presented in one tab that students scroll through. There will now be just two tabs on the left-hand side of the display: one tab for the revised instructions, and a second tab for the reading material.

The webinar also presented ongoing research that will improve the usability and effectiveness of the GED score reports based on a two-phase research study we launched in 2017. In the first phase we looked at how educators and students understand and use the score report and we used these findings to build prototypes. In 2019 we will research if these prototypes work for both educators and students. After a number of reviews we will conclude with the last usability study.

Here are a few examples of our findings from the research:

  • Revise language to make the reports easier to understand including:
    • Skills/indicators in “How to Score Higher”
    • Information provided in “What Does My Score Mean”
  • Update the study plan including:
    • Sorting the study plan by page numbers in the book
    • Printable version with margins that allow for hand-written notes

The full presentation and a downloadable pdf are available here.


  1. It would be nice if on the score report, pages were identified in each text that needs to be reviewed. That way the student isn’t bouncing all around trying to find out which area needs the most work in each subject.

  2. This is great. Are there plans to update the 1/4 length practice tests to reflect these changes to the test-especially the Science 1/4 length test? It still has the written response on it, and that’s no longer on the official test.

  3. I like the revision to 1 tab. I have had students tell me they could not find the information…forgot to use tab 2.
    I like the Tues. webinars but am not always available at the time so I like to have them available as needed.
    I will have this site so other adult ed. teachers see the teaching resources. Easier to locate.

  4. Until you change the way the ER question is posed and the way it is graded, we will continue to advise our students to ignore it. Even the best students in our program are only able to capture a point or two from the ER. It is not worth the time and effort.

    1. We have come up with a format for the students to follow that will gain them points on the ER if they follow it. We have students, on a regular basis, who would not have passed the RLA portion without the points from the ER, so we have definitely found it worth the time to teach it.

      1. Where do you find the new format material? One of our students mentioned he was given the format during the test. What exactly are the students given during the test?

  5. I would hope that the study plan would have the list of study materials expanded. I’ve encountered some year-versions of textbooks that are not represented, and more importantly some examples of the same textbook divided into subject-specific textbooks that are not represented in the list.

  6. I am Hieu Bates, I have a high school degree 18 years ago in Vietnam. I came and worked in America more than 10 years ago. Now I want to find a better job but I need to get a GED because no one will take mine from Vietnam. I passed 3 subjects only one left is RLA which is really hard for me, I took more 3 times and missed by 1, 2, 5 point for every time. It will help if you guys have any special for foreigner who is using English as a second language like me

  7. I just noticed today that the score report no longer shows what the test taker wrote for their extended response on the GED Ready test. Why is that? Can we get that back? It was a very valuable tool to prep students for the extended response.

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