The West Virginia Board of Education is making it easier for students at risk of dropping out to stay in school and earn a diploma.

Calhoun, Gilmer and Roane are among the counties in the pilot program.

The board made policy changes this week that will allow students to earn a General Educational Development diploma while still enrolled in high school.

Under the old policy, students under age 18 have to withdraw from school before they take the GED test.

Students who want to pursue a GED diploma also can take career and technical education courses.

The state board says these students can earn both the GED diploma and certification in their chosen field.

The new GED Option program will be piloted by 26 county school systems this fall.

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