WBEZ | GED http://www.wbez.org/tags/ged Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Re-writing the GED test http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/re-writing-ged-test-99286 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_5681_small_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/42854350" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Ericka Coleman remembers seeing a sign about&nbsp;General Educational Development&nbsp;(GED) classes at the library near her house in St. Paul, Minn.</p><p>The 21-year-old dropped out of high school in one year shy of graduation to take care of her family. Now that things are more stable at home, Coleman can shift focus back to her future.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t even know what a GED was and I sure didn&rsquo;t think it was anything good,&rdquo; Coleman said. &ldquo;I talked to people and found out it&rsquo;s almost like getting a high school diploma. You can still go to college or get a job.&rdquo;</p><p>Coleman wants to do both. She imagines working at a hospital while she studies to be a nurse. She already passed the GED reading test. She has math, social studies, science and writing to go. She&rsquo;s tackling one subject at a time. But she&rsquo;s worried about a looming deadline.</p><p>&ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t finish your tests by Dec. 31 of next year, you have to start all over again,&rdquo; Coleman said.</p><p>She&rsquo;s right. The old GED test is being retired for good.</p><p>The 72-year-old exam is being overhauled. Employers and educators say the current test does a poor job evaluating the skills that employees and college students need. The new version debuts in 2014.</p><p>Randy Trask, the president and CEO of the <a href="http://www.gedtestingservice.com/ged-testing-service" target="_blank">GED Testing Service</a>, says the new test will evaluate critical thinking skills. The GED Testing Service is the developer and distributor of the test.</p><p>It is aligned with the rigorous new <a href="http://www.corestandards.org/" target="_blank">Common Core</a> teaching standards for K-12 education that have been adopted by 45 states.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a direct correlation between what high school and the GED test will measure, and the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to do well in college and the workforce,&rdquo; Trask said.</p><p>In addition to measuring high school equivalency, there will be a new threshold of passing. Students can earn an endorsement that says they&rsquo;re ready to work or, if they score better, a certificate that says they&rsquo;re ready for college.</p><p>Educators are raising graduation standards in an effort to keep Americans competitive in the global economy. They are also trying to keep young people in school. An estimated <a href="http://www.all4ed.org/about_the_crisis" target="_blank">7,000 Americans</a> drop out every day.</p><p>&ldquo;Every year, the number of people without a high school diploma grows,&rdquo; Trask said. &ldquo;We have to do things differently.&rdquo;</p><p>Professionals who work with adult learners agree the old test is outdated.</p><p>&ldquo;If we change what you have to learn to attain that credential, people will rise to that,&rdquo; said Pam Ampferer, a GED instructor at the <a href="http://hubbs.spps.org/" target="_blank">Ronald M. Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning</a> in St. Paul.</p><p>Ampferer is more concerned about the new format. Starting in 2014, the GED will only be administered on computers. The test can only be taken at official GED testing centers. The GED test cannot be taken online. Registration, scheduling and test scores will be available online.</p><p>Ampferer says the new test may leave behind students who don&rsquo;t have computer skills. Most Hubbs Center students are poor and many are not native English-speakers.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to know if they understand who our population is,&rdquo; said Kristine Halling, supervisor at the Hubbs Center.&nbsp;</p><p>As test designers work on data collection and online registration, test-takers face obstacles like babysitters who don&rsquo;t show up, and cars that break down.</p><p>Halling is also concerned about the cost of retooling for the new test.&nbsp; The Hubbs Center will have to invest scarce dollars installing proprietary software and training teachers to use the new curricula.</p><p>&ldquo;Students will need digital literacy skills,&rdquo; Halling said.&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rsquo;re working hard to make sure the technology piece isn&rsquo;t going to slow them down.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Correction: The original text piece inaccurately reported the acronym for GED. It stands for General Educational Development. </em></p></p> Mon, 04 Jun 2012 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/re-writing-ged-test-99286 From student to teacher: Beatriz Cruz teaches ESL, GED classes in Michigan http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/student-teacher-beatriz-cruz-teaches-esl-ged-classes-michigan-99758 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_Kyle McCluer_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the past week, Front &amp; Center has explored the problem of low-literacy and how it starts in the schools and at home. Before we turn our attention to the ways low-literacy impacts adults in the workforce, we&rsquo;re exploring the immigrant experience of learning to read, write and speak in English.</p><p>BEATRIZ: My name is Beatriz Cruz. Everybody calls me Bea. We are from Brownsville Texas, right across the border from Mexico. I was born in Mexico but I am a naturalized citizen now. And we started migrating here when I was 8 years old. And we traveled all over Michigan working in the fields and we settled here when I was 11. My mom, she went up to the 6th grade, so she can read or write. My dad is 81, so to my parents they said the kids know English, they are bilingual, so we don&rsquo;t need to know. So they have that mindset that thinking &ldquo;we don&rsquo;t need to learn English the kids know English, that&rsquo;s all we need.&rdquo;</p><p>So I got offered the job to work for parenting communities out of Leland from the children&rsquo;s center. It must have been going on 4 years now. I was a stay at home mom and I said, I&rsquo;ll do it if I can take my kids with me.&rdquo; And they said sure, we need someone to help out the migrant community, have somebody to advocate for them and I said sure, you know?</p><p>ANGELICA: Hello, my name is Angelica Ledesma. I always had the goal to do something in my life, like do the GED. Because I want to be a good example for my child. I feel so happy when they bring papers from school and I can read them and I can be involved in the school. I feel good when my oldest son asked me for help on math. Two years ago, he bring me all the papers and he asked me for help and I said, I don&rsquo;t know. And I got frustrated and he got frustrated too because I wasn&rsquo;t able to help him. But now it feels so good when I see his papers and I now I can help him.</p><p>MOISES: Hi my name is Moises Ledesma. To be honest, I never finished elementary school. I went like four or three years and then I came here. I start taking classes of English as a second language and then I got involved in this program to get my GED. It opens doors because, actually before going to that program, I went to look for a job and they asked for a diploma. And I said, I don&rsquo;t have a diploma, but I&rsquo;m hungry. Laughs. And then when I came with it, with the GED, I went over to look for a job at the same place, they gave me a form to fill out, I had a GED by then and they said, yeah, the job is yours.</p><p>There is a couple in the community who are very nice. They asked me to go to their house and they asked what my plans are for the future. We talked a little bit about that and how I felt about going back to school. And I said, if I could, I would love to go back to take some classes. And they offered to pay for that. And for someone to give you a great gift like an education, something that no one can take away from you. I started crying and I said Oh My Gosh. Who wouldn&rsquo;t want a gift like that?</p></p> Mon, 04 Jun 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/student-teacher-beatriz-cruz-teaches-esl-ged-classes-michigan-99758