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Passing the GED Offers Second Chance for Thousands of Young Adults
By Dominique Carson

Many people are familiar with the General Educational Development, or GED, examination because it’s usually the alternative when a student doesn’t finish high school. However, preparing for the seven-hour exam takes time, dedication, support and useful resources.

In 2014, the American Council on Education will design a new, more challenging GED examination to encourage students to enroll in post-secondary education after they receive their diploma.

“A high school or GED diploma is not enough in the 21st century,” said Christopher Turner, the director of public affairs for GED testing. He said that their reason for revamping the exam is to encourage more GED recipients to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Currently, most students who obtain their GED do not try to further their education.

The GED test measures a student’s ability and knowledge on various academic subjects based on high school curriculum. When the students pass the exam, they will receive a diploma that is certified from the state.

According to the representatives from District 79, which is responsible for all alternative school programs in New York City, students are eligible to take the GED examination if they are at least 16 years of age before the school year starts and they are no longer enrolled in high school.

District 79 representatives mentioned that students should speak to their guidance counselors or academic advisers before taking the GED exams because there are other options. But, if the individual is certain they want to take the   exam, they have to take a test to measure their reading and writing in order to be referred for the exam.

In order to receive a GED diploma, students are tested in five academic subject areas: mathematics, reading, writing, science and social studies. Students are able to take this exam at a GED Testing Center in their neighborhood and there are many Web sites that help students prepare for the exam.

According to the American Council of Education, more than 728,000 adults took the GED examination in 2007, and 86 percent pass the exam.

Gina Sayers, a GED specialist from the American Council of Education, said that the minimum passing score for the GED is 2250, and the test-takers need to score at least 410 points in each of the five subject areas.

To pass the GED exams, some study on their own while others buy GED study guides from bookstores, take practice tests online or enroll in pre-GED classes at schools or public libraries.

Ten Brooklyn Public Libraries offer pre-GED classes for examinees, where they have a chance to work on their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, problem solving and writing techniques for the GED essay. The classes are free and they meet twice a week for a total of six hours. The classes are offered during the day and evening and students will have access to computers and other materials they need for the exam.

“The pre-GED classes are helpful because we offer classes to people who have a difficult time in certain areas such as reading, writing and mathematics,” said Malika Granville, a Brooklyn Public Library specialist. “We have registration periods in September, January, April, and July and once they arrive to the pre-GED registration, they are given a reading assessment to figure out which class fits them based on their scores.”

The New Lots and Sunset Park branches of the Brooklyn Public Library offer Young Adult Pre-GED classes as well for students who are out of school and between the ages of 17 to 24. The library offers traveling support to the students.
Another effective program for GED applicants is the online GED program, GED Academy. The goal of the academy is to make sure students pass the exam and have more self-confidence, so they can look forward to a brighter future. Former educator Michael Ormbsy started the program because he knew students were no longer taking education seriously and he wanted to make a difference.

The GED academy first figures out students’ strengths and weaknesses by giving them a 40-minute assessment. The test determines the students’ learning needs.

“Once we give the students the quick assessment, we can give them problems or questions that seemed to be too easy or hard so we can see if they have mastered the material,” said Gill Kantertnan, a GED Academy specialist.

Kantertnan said the academy offers online courses all over the world. They speak to students on the phone if they are struggling, and offer job training after the students receive their GED.

The exam has changed tremendously since 1942, when GED testing first began. The United States Armed Forces asked ACE to create a test that would determine high school students’ academic performance for veterans. Since 1942 the test has been revised twice; first in 1988 because ACE wanted more topics on the exam to make it more relevant and test problem-solving skills. It was then changed in 2002 to meet the standards of the high school curriculum.

The GED exam is still a test that gives students a second chance to pursue their academic endeavors. #



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