09/02/14 — Changes in progress for Wayne Community College GED testing

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Changes in progress for Wayne Community College GED testing

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 2, 2014 1:46 PM

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Julie Beck, left, Wayne Community College GED teacher, and Sonja Redmon, program director at WCC, prepare to move materials from Mount Olive Presbyterian Church to Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive. The move will be temporary, while renovations are done at the church. The college offers its GED program at the WCC campus, the Day Reporting Center on Walnut Street and in Mount Olive.

The new GED test has arrived at Wayne Community College, but more changes are expected.

Beginning Jan. 1, new guidelines went into effect, including the way the test was administered and the cost.

The public still knows it by the acronym GED, which stands for General Educational Development, an alternative way to earn a high school diploma. But in academic circles, it is being renamed.

"We started calling it the high school equivalency test because in the future, as of January of this coming year, we will be offering not only the GED test but we will be offering other equivalency tests as well," said Sonja Redmon, director of the basic skills department. "For now, though, we're only offering the GED testing."

In addition to converting to computer-based tests, the college is opening a Pearson VUE testing lab in March.

"As of now, we have administered 105 individual tests," Ms. Redmon said, adding, "That's not complete GED tests -- there are four tests to make a complete GED test."

Many opt to divide up the process and take one test at a time. The four test areas include reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, science and social studies.

The program had a boost in enrollment this past year, attributed largely to the imminent changes to the test format.

"Knowing that the old GED was going to be retired, people knew that and in anticipation of the computer-based GED, and it was going to be a more difficult test and more expensive, just the fear of the unknown -- it frightens some of the older students -- we had the largest class of GED graduates that we have ever had last year, 367," she said.

Enrollment has dipped since, but Ms. Redmon said she anticipates that will change.

"Students can go online and register online and go into our Pearson VUE center and take the test," she said. "They do not have to come through the college and register to take the test as they did before.

"That's a good thing for the public to be able to do that."

The college offers an array of services for those who want to take the GED -- from an orientation to taking placement and practice tests.

Currently, the Pearson VUE testing center offers testing options in the morning, afternoon and evening, with orientation and placement sessions also scheduled.

Among the changes anticipated in the future will be additional options, including one Saturday a month for those unable to attend on a weekday.

There are also online offerings as well, but more of a hybrid approach. Ms. Redmon said students can do a portion from home but are still required to work with an instructor throughout.

In addition to structured classes on campus, the program is also available at the Day Reporting site for that population as well as those from the surrounding community who find it more convenient to attend at that location. There is also an off-campus class in the southern end of the county, she said.

The Mount Olive class has been held at Mount Olive Presbyterian Church, but renovations there prompted the need to relocate temporarily. On Sept. 4, the Tuesday/Thursday classes from 5:30-8 p.m. will be held at the Steele Memorial Library.

Other differences at the Day Reporting and Mount Olive sites are that the students in those programs are not required to attend an orientation, although they may do so at WCC, Ms. Redmon said.

Scholarships are also available for those pursuing the GED, she said. The college Foundation currently has scholarships that pay for half the fee of the GED test, which is now $80, or $20 for each of the four tests. It had previously been $120 but was reduced in May.

There are also vouchers for the tests that can be purchased online, which can be used as gifts.

The success of the program, be it for those hoping to advance in the workplace, or the sense of pride attained from receiving a diploma, has also been reflected in the number of graduates who go on to pursue further education, Ms. Redmon said.

"This past year, we had about 30 percent that went on to take college courses and I believe it was 26 percent of our GED graduates that went on to take college courses," she said.

For more information about the test, visit www.GED.com. The testing and orientation schedules can also be found in the current fall brochure or online at www.waynecc.edu. To take a class, call 919-739-6903 or 739-6908.