Several Missourians have missed their chance this year to get a high school diploma equivalent certificate this year.  If they want one, they’ll have to start all over next year.

The state education department’s adult education division is changing the tests people take to get what has been called the GED, the certificate that is the equivalent of a high school diploma for people who decide later that dropping out was not in their best interests.

Today is the last day candidates can complete the test—and most of the testing locations are closed for the holidays.  The department’s coordinator of Adult Education, Tom Robbins, says there has been a last-month rush, which the department tried to prepare for. But those who have missed the deadline for finishing the tests will not get their fees back.   If they want to pursue the certificate in 2014 they’ll have to go through a new process called HiSET, the High School Equivalency Test.  Robbins says it resembles the current test but has a new scoring system and is designed to become tougher as high school graduation requirements become tougher.

AUDIO: Robbins interview 13:54