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G.E.D. Takers Earn Diplomas Despite Erroneous Scores

Because of a scoring error, about 640 students who failed to pass the revised General Educational Development examination this year have been awarded the certificate anyway.

The error resulted in scores "three to five points higher than they should have been,'' according to Douglas R. Whitney, director of the GED testing service. The program is administered by the American Council on Education in conjunction with state education departments.

About 6,400 test takers in 10 states--less than 1 percent of all those expected to take the test this year--received diplomas based on the erroneous scores, according to Mr. Whitney. But 90 percent of those diplomas would have been awarded in any case, he said.

In five other states and the District of Columbia, officials delayed reporting the results because of the error; in another four states, officials postponed administering the test for a month. The revised test, which is being phased in this year, for the first time requires those taking the high-school-equivalency exam to write an essay.

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