That’s the message Adult Education of Lee, Wise and Scott counties and the city of Norton is hoping to communicate to those who have not yet completed their exam before major changes to the tests take effect next year.
The GED preparation classes, which are free for adults who are at least 18 or older and not enrolled in public school to prepare, are set to begin Sept. 3 at Adult Education’s 13 class sites located throughout the three counties it serves.
Due to the pending changes, Adult Education Regional Specialist Jan Stallard said this fall’s schedule of classes are especially important for those who have begun, but not finished, their GED exams.
“Anyone who has taken portions of the GED test and hasn’t completed it will have to start all over after 2014,” Stallard said. “If they don’t get all of those tests completed by the end of December, they really stand to lose.
“They would have to basically start from scratch because the test is going to be very different. Our big push for right now is to help these people complete the GED test before the new one is rolled out in January. We still use pencil and paper, but that’s going to change. But if they want to take it with a pencil and paper they need to get on in here.”
Stallard said the exam — which consists of five subtests — will become entirely computer based starting Jan. 2, 2014.
“The test will be completely computer based and will not be simply clicking answers, but will actually require word processing skills,” Stallard said. “For example, there will be two writing samples that actually have to be typed in on the keyboard.”
According to Adult Education, instructors will be available at each classroom location to assist students preparing to complete the GED before the deadline. Testing will also be provided on-demand through the end of December at Adult Education’s four testing centers in Jonesville, Gate City, Norton and Wise to ensure that every student that wants to take the test before January can do so, Stallard said.
In addition to the classes, examinees must also pass a practice GED before registering for the full test.
“We will give them a practice test, which is a pretty good predictor of an actual GED score,” Stallard said. “If they do well on that, and have a good passing score on that, we’ll go ahead and give them the green light.”
Those who pass the practice test will have the $58 GED exam fee waived thanks to grant funds from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.
As the deadline for completing the old version of the GED draws closer, Stallard said Adult Education will begin transitioning its instruction to include more use of technology.
“We will begin to incorporate some basic computer skills into our instruction to get people ready for the 2014 test, and we’ll of course phase into that as we get closer and closer to January,” Stallard said. “Most of the younger kids that are dropping out of school now, or have done so recently, are the ones have decent computer skills, but for most of those that have been out of school for several years, it’s going to be a big change for them.”
Instruction for the new version of the GED will be “technology rich” with each class participating in Internet activities and online lessons. Adults preparing for the new exam will also be taught basic computer literacy skills and gain familiarity with Adult Education’s application for Android devices. Adult students will also be able to use iPads during their class time to access over a dozen free, online resources available on the Adult Education website.
Distance learning services through mail are also available.
For more detailed information on the classes, call 1-877 RACE2 GED or visit the program website at www.race2ged.org.