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ERIC Number: EJ969127
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar-6
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1931-1362
As a Path to a Degree, the GED Is Rerouted with Students' Needs in Mind
Sieben, Lauren
Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar 2011
Many community colleges, along with some public-school districts and family-literacy programs, are overhauling their GED curricula and support services. Nearly 40 million American adults do not have high-school or GED diplomas, according to 2009 data from the American Council on Education, which developed the GED test. Another of the council's studies followed a cohort of GED graduates from 2003 and reported that while 77.8 percent of those who passed the test had enrolled in two-year colleges or certificate programs, only 11.8 percent of the test passers had earned degrees or certificates by the fall of 2009. The council is in the process of reworking the test, both to modernize it and to better align it with what students will need to know before entering college. That work will not be complete until around 2014. In the meantime, the National Center for Family Literacy, a nonprofit group, has begun compiling guidelines for partnerships between community colleges and family-literacy programs, highlighting the most effective ways to prepare GED students for college. A GED Bridge program at LaGuardia Community College in New York focuses on coursework. Instructors teach each subject in the frame of health or business. A health student's reading assignments might address medical ethics, for example, rather than literature from a high-school English class. "By asking students to pick a career focus, you're asking them to talk beyond the test and to begin to articulate their aspirations for career or additional education," says Amy Dalsimer, director of precollege academic programming at LaGuardia. LaGuardia's GED Bridge classes have outperformed others on the GED exam, with a 70-percent passing rate among Bridge students since 2007, compared with New York City's 49 percent in 2009, according to LaGuardia. The Jefferson County Public Schools, in Louisville, Kentucky, has arranged a low-cost collaboration with nearby Jefferson Community and Technical College. The partnership led to the creation of the Educational Enrichment Services program, in 2003. It offers free remedial classes to students who are between the GED and college, helping them save roughly $450,000 in tuition each year. Students do, however, pay tuition for higher-level remedial courses at the college. Educational Enrichment Services provides free remediation only to students who score below a certain cutoff in math or reading. Both LaGuardia and Jefferson County have developed their own solutions to such absences in the GED, but the larger question remains: Does earning a GED diploma truly predict a student's ability to handle college work? When the American Council on Education releases its revised GED exam, in three years or so, it will correspond with a modern high-school curriculum, says Nicole M. Chestang, executive director of the council's GED Testing Service. It will emphasize college readiness, unlike the current exam, which was modeled after a 1999 curriculum. The test will move from a paper-based to a computer-based format by 2013.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; High School Equivalency Programs; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky; New York
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: General Educational Development Tests