GED options expanded across the state

Photo submitted Delta County Libraries literacy teacher Julee Skinner reviews materials for new high school equivalency tests in Colorado.

Libraries fundamentally support reading and education; it is not a great stretch to see how adult education and English as a Second Language classes fit into the mission of Delta County Libraries. The library district has been offering classes for all levels around the county for years, weathering changes and shifting services to meet the needs of the community.

One such change is currently underway. Students in adult education classes often work toward a goal of earning a high school equivalency diploma. The General Education Diploma (GED) test has long been the only option for Colorado students who need to achieve that goal. However, students have found recent changes to the GED test limiting, and passing scores have dropped significantly in the past year. Fortunately, last December, the Colorado State Board of Education voted to provide new alternatives that could begin to increase the numbers of passing students.

Julee Skinner is one of Delta County Libraries' adult education teachers. She has worked with numerous students over the years and has valuable feedback on how changes to the GED test in the last few years have impacted students. She says, "We teach adults from 17 years old and up. Many of my students are unfamiliar with some of the computer tech skills they need to know, such as drag and drop, drop-down, cut and paste, hot spot, fast enough keyboarding for the timed tests, etc. And while it is good to know, and they want to improve their computer skills, they become overwhelmed at having to learn all of this as well as all the content of the GED."

Skinner continues, referring to the December vote, "We now have two other tests: the TASC and HiSET. Both of these have the option of computer based, paper and pencil, or a combination. In addition, they are less than half the cost of the GED test, and they also offer two free retests that the GED does not offer. The content is not that different, so they need to acquire about the same knowledge. I'm excited my students now have more options we can offer them so they can reach their goals."

Gail Srebnik, the manager for the Delta County Libraries literacy program, stresses another potential advantage of the new tests. She says, "I am working with HiSET to try to provide a test site in Delta County. Right now, students have to go to Montrose to take the GED, and given that we don't have public transportation in this area, that is not always easy." Additionally, some Colorado residents were travelling to other states to take TASC or HiSET tests because of the limitations of the GED tests. Srebnik feels that bringing alternatives to Colorado, and hopefully into Delta County, will provide local students with much-needed options.

Students who would like to learn more about both adult education and English as a Second Language classes through Delta County Libraries should contact Srebnik at 399-7670. Srebnik will connect prospective students with teachers like Skinner, who have the skills to assess student needs, work on problem areas, and help students achieve success.


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