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By Julie Loar
Special to The SUN
Archuleta County Education Center has been offering GED testing at our local jail in cooperation with the sheriff’s department since January. During this time, eight students took classes and two students received their GED.
GED test preparation is now offered at a new location, the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library, with the same Education Center instructors and personalized instruction plans. This new partnership and location allow easy access to the library’s outstanding online resources.
English as a Second Language is also being taught at a new location, the Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. ESL classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-7 p.m., with instructors Susan Lawrence and Rosalind Marshall.
GED, the General Educational Development high school equivalency exam, has been in existence for 70 years and is designed for adults who didn’t finish high school.
Randy Trask, president of the GED Testing Service, said, “There are an alarming forty million adults without a high school diploma in the country.”
At the same time, there are 4 million unfilled jobs, and most require education and certification beyond high school.
“We need to give these adults a fighting chance,” Trask said.
The new GED test, which goes into effect in January, will hold up in today’s tech-savvy world.
Seventy-five percent of people in prisons did not graduate from high school, which leads to a downward cycle of repeating crime.
Examiners say the new GED test will be more valuable in today’s job market, where two-thirds of jobs require more than a high school diploma. On Jan. 2, 2014, the GED Testing Service will unveil a new assessment in all jurisdictions (except Canada and International) that ensures the GED testing program is no longer just an endpoint for adults, but a springboard to more education, training and better paying jobs. Among the changes, the writing and reading sections have been combined into a literacy section, reducing the number of test sections to four, and aligning with new educational standards aimed at preparing students for college or a career.
The new assessment will continue to provide adults the opportunity to earn a high school credential, but goes further by measuring career and college readiness skills that are the focus of today’s curriculum and tomorrow’s success.
Four content areas — literacy, mathematics, science and social studies — will measure a foundational core of knowledge and skills that are essential for career and college readiness. Evidence suggests that test takers who demonstrate fluency with the skills measured in the new assessment will be better prepared for an enhanced life plan. A graduate will no longer hold just a high school equivalency credential, but also a road map for success and a stepping stone toward a college classroom or better career and family sustaining wage.
Until Dec. 31, test takers have the option of taking the test on paper or computer, but the 2014 tests will all be computer based. The upcoming program includes an online system designed to support test takers as they prepare and move on from the GED. Students who have already begun the GED process are encouraged to finish by the end of the year as their scores will not be valid after Jan. 1, 2014, and they will have to start over with the new test.
GED instructors are available at the Ruby Sisson Library Monday-Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. and Thursdays from 2-7:30 p.m. There is no charge for test preparation instruction except a yearly $15 administration fee. There are fees for the tests, but scholarship money is available. Free childcare is available at the Methodist Church Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. and Thursdays from 5-7:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the Education Center’s website, www.ArchuletaCountyEducationCenter.com, or call the library at 264- 2209 and speak with either Julie Loar or Mark Wardell.