Each GED graduate was honored for academic achievement, and in her time as the adult basic education coordinator at Kodiak College, Adelia Myrick has seen students who earned their GED continue on to postgraduate work or further their business pursuits.
“A lot of our GED students will go on to college here,” Myrick said, “which is really nice to see. They already feel like they are part of the college community and it’s such a nice, easy transition.”
A new set of classes begins today at Kodiak College to prepare adults to pass the five subjects on the GED test. But while these classes have traditionally been taught during the day, the adult education program is also offering a set of courses scheduled in the evening beginning Sept. 20.
The evening courses accommodate people who have jobs or other daytime obligations, Myrick said.
“We’ve been open in the evening, but we haven’t had a dedicated set of GED classes,” she said. “Our evening times in the past have been more like an open lab session — come in and get some help on whatever you’re working on, not that directed instruction, which is proven to be more effective for learning.”
The mission of adult basic education, Myrick said, is to serve people without a high school diploma or those whose skills are below the college level. That takes in a wide variety of people in various life circumstances — from the student wanting to get their academic career back on track to someone returning to college needing to refresh their skills, to an immigrant learning English as a second language.
“People come to us with a lot of different skill levels,” Myrick said. “A lot of people need a lot of instruction, and some people — those are the rare ones — can just come in and they are already testing at the level to be able to take the test.”
So the first step is to start with an assessment to determine the academic level of those interested in the GED.
“If you do really well on the assessment, we are not going to hold you back,” Myrick said. “We are going to go ahead and let you test as soon as you can.”
But most people test at a lower grade level, so the 10 weeks of classes focused on reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies are designed for their needs, she said. Some students will repeat the semester if they need additional study for one or more parts of the GED test.
While Myrick counsels students to continue and finish their high school education, she said the GED is a valid alternative and can open doors.
“There are statistics like 98 percent of colleges and universities accept a GED just like a high school diploma,” Myrick said, with a similar percentage of employers saying the same.
All of the GED classes, including the teaching time, practice tests and homework help, are provided free to students, Myrick said. This is made possible through a grant from the Alaska Department of Labor and with the support of Kodiak College. The only expense at the end of the semester is a $20 fee for the official GED test.
The adult basic education program encourages those interested in the GED, or those who have passed sections of the test in the past, to consider completing the tests in the near future.
“We’re being told by the GED Testing Service that they are going to change the GED tests in 2014,” Myrick said.
She said the indications from the testing service point to a GED that will be more rigorous, more expensive and take longer to complete.
“We want to get the message out to come and get them done now before it gets harder and more expensive,” Myrick said. “There may be people out there who have taken tests 10 years ago, five years ago. Those tests are still valid and they don’t need to redo them. They just need to finish the subjects that they haven’t done yet.”
Contact Mirror writer Wes Hanna at whanna@kodiak