09/05/13 Marshall County’s Director of the GED program, Deb Sherwood, is optimistic about the effect that a proposed new test will have on those enrolled in the programs. As of 2014, the GED (General Education Redevelopment) test will be renamed to Test Assessing Secondary Completion. The announcement of the change was made by Scott Sanders of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development on August 28. Plans are to change test provider responsibilities to CTB McGraw-Hill from Pearson.
The exam proposed will be more in line with Indiana’s College and Career Readiness Standards, according to Sanders.
Sherwood said, “The state is not going to set us up to fail.” She explained that the changes will likely fit into the needs of the workforce and area employers and lead to better employment opportunities.
Sherwood has been with the GED program for almost 11 years, starting in data entry and working her way up to Director. Currently there are 60 area residents signed up for the classes that lead to a high school equivalency diploma for those passing the exams. “Approximately 80 percent of those enrolled now could pass the test by the December 15 deadline.” Participants will have to pass the test within two weeks of the end of 2013 to use the current testing model.
Sherwood said staff is taking training via Webinar on Fridays. She said, “We will also be sending one teacher and one director to training in October and December.” Those attending the outside training will be asked to train additional staff.
Pearson indicated that they will use an all computer-based testing method and double the fees for testing. Sherwood said, “That concerns me since not all of our students have basic computer skills or have the internet.” She added, “I can’t imagine typing an essay or using the calculator on the computer for math problems for those how don’t have computer skills.” Indiana will be able to continue to offer the test in paper form by switching to CTB McGraw-Hill.
Participants from Marshall County generally travel to a testing site in Rochester. The current cost is $70, according to Sherwood. Although Workforce Development has indicated that they expect the cost to be lower, Sherwood said she will wait and see. Each testing site has to purchase the test and pay for onsite administrators which factors into the overall costs.
Participants in Marshall County can attend classes at the Argos, Bourbon, and Bremen Libraries or choose to attend at the Service Center at the Plymouth Schools. Sherwood said they hope to have classes in Culver in the future.
Carol Anders Correspondent