The GED high school equivalency test used in Colorado was rewritten, computerized and privatized in 2014 to reflect national Common Core standards. Since then, the number of students both taking and passing the test have dropped precipitously.

On average, 211 people a week passed the GED from 2011 to 2013. The number of successful test takers was down 75 percent to about 52 a week in 2014 and the first 10 months of 2015. One critic said the state is not keeping up with the number of students who drop out of high school, or with the needs of business for high school educated workers.

Looking for Alternatives

Nineteen other states have responded to falling numbers of test takers by offering alternatives to the GED, such as the HiSET, run by the administrator of the GRE graduate entrance exam, or another called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC. Three young Colorado women have been making road trips to Wyoming to pursue the HiSET test, and are pleased by the outcome.