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Adult Education and GED News Roundup, Week of March 5th - March 12th, 2017

It's Time For An Adult Education And GED News Roundup!

This post includes my picks for the top 5 stories for the week of March 5th - March 12th! Enjoy!

5. 80,000 Pima County Adults Don't Have Diploma or GED

The desert in Arizona, supposedly nearby where the GED News/Adult education news story took place

Governor Doug Ducey has declared this week "Arizona Adult Literacy Week." However, low literacy levels present a barrier for over 80,000 adults living in Pima, County Arizona, who have not yet earned a high School diploma or completed the GED test, reports journalist Andrea Kelly.

Each section on the test requires test takers to be able to read critically and answer questions based on their comprehension. Even the math section involves strong reading skills, as students must both follow directions, and also correctly answer word problem questions to pass.

Kelly shares some insights from Regina Suiit in the story. Regina Suiit is the Dean for Adult Education at Pima Community College, and is a leading authority in community college and adult education. Suitt has won numerous awards, including being selected as Administrator of the Year by the Commission on Adult Basic Education back in 2011.

Suitt began her career as an educator while living on the Tohono O’odham Native American reservation, where she taught high school English. Suitt started teaching high school equivalency classes while living on the reservation, before leaving to teach high school equivalency full time at the Pima County Jail. 

In last week's roundup, I discussed how some data suggests that there is a connection between educational opportunities being present in prison, and lower rates of inmates re-offending after release. It's a sure bet that Suitt has made a tremendous impact on many in her years as an instructor in the Arizona prison system.

According Suitt, the most important indicator for predicting how a child will perform in school is his or her mother's education. I agree with Suitt 150% on this point! 

In fact, I would also add that older sibling education levels are also key indicators. This is why I always try to encourage students to really think about the kind of positive example they'll be setting for others by pursuing their educational goals!

Many without high school educations who have overcome great odds to succeed will be celebrating Arizona Adult Literacy Week, and also the unrelated Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday and Sunday! 

While there is a lot to celebrate, let's not forget that a lot of work still remains to be done in Pima County, as well as across the country!

4. Huge Adult Education Student Success Fair To Be Held In April

If you're currently studying for a high school equivalency test, or have passed one recently and are in the Chicago area, the Adult Education Student Success Fair will be a great opportunity to discover exciting career opportunities and employment resources!

Information will be presented on Dental Hygience, Certified Nurse Assisting, Medical Assisting, Automotive Technology, Welding, Health Information Technology, Computer Information Technology, and much more!

The fair will be held in April at the College of Lake County in Illinois, located about an hour away from Chicago.

Many will be traveling from all over to attend this event, and it's worth taking the trip if you're nearby and want to learn more about careers you may be eligible for after completing an adult education program!

3. Florida to Examine Whether Alternative Charter Schools Underreport Dropouts

An image of the state of Florida, where the GED News/Adult education news story took place

Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida was ranked in the top 1,000 high schools in the nation last year by the U.S. News and World Report. However, when we dig a little deeper beneath the surface, we find some real issues with how they achieved their standing. 

Nearby Olympia, there's an alternative high school called Sunshine High. Last year, at least 137 students transferred from Olympia to Sunshine. 

Unlike Olympia, Sunshine offers no sports teams, and very few extracurricular activities for students to participate in.

Why then would students transfer from Olympia to Sunshine?

Heather Vogell reports that students have been leaving Olympia in response to pressure from school officials, and that this may have been going on for years! 

When low performing students leave a high school, the school's average standardized test scores go up, because the lowest scores are no longer factored into the average.

Also, when students likely to dropout instead transfer to an alternative school, the dropout rate for the first school they attended decreases! This may be making Olympia's dropout rate appear lower than what it actually is.

Once the students then arrive at the alternative school, the alternative school can write off students who withdraw as "leaving to enter adult education programs", such as GED prep programs.

Legally, the school isn't required to list them as dropouts, even though little to no tracking of these students then takes place to ensure that they actually complete an adult education program.

Let's put aside the fact that schools are using this strategy to manipulate their rankings, because the main problem that I see here is the impact this manipulation is likely having on minority students. 

Vogell states that the overwhelming majority of students who attend the alternative school are minority students.

It's important to note that it's not just Olympia that is being investigated for this; several other schools in Florida are also suspected if similar practices. 

If minority students who withdraw from alternative schools can just be written off as pursuing adult education instead of being counted as dropouts, my guess is that this must be making the dropout rate for minorities in Florida look a lot better than what it is in reality.

Now, I have no problem whatsoever with counting students who do complete high school equivalency tests as high school graduates statistically (although some argue that they shouldn't be).

What I do take serious issue with is the fact that there is very little (if any) follow up data available on the outcomes achieved by the students who withdraw; right now we have no idea if these students actually go on to pass the GED test.

If the school systems in Florida are failing to reach disadvantaged students, I believe they should be held fully accountable. Unfortunately, until the data is properly adjusted to reveal what's really going on, it's unlikely that much will happen.

Additionally, think about the psychological impact on the students being asked to leave. Consider this quote from a related story released not long ago in February:

"Two other students... as well as a former guidance counselor, confirmed to ProPublica that Olympia has allowed ALS representatives to pitch its schools to poor-performing students in assemblies."

I presented a large body of evidence in my post The Pygmalion Effect: The Story Of The Self Fulfilling Prophecy In Education demonstrating how teacher expectations--positive or negative--can lead students to modify their behavior to conform to the expectations. The basic idea can be summed up in this model I created:

The model featured in The Pygmalion Effect: The Story Of The Self Fulfilling Prophecy In Education

What poor-performing students need is extra help and extra motivation; it's the educators' job to find a way to reach them, not to send them the message that they're not good enough, or smart enough to do well in high school.

Public high school is not for everybody; alternative schools and adult education options work out very well for some. However, the decision to leave high school is a personal decision people deserve to be able to make for themselves, without administrators trying to influence them for their own gain.

This is such an important point that I want to restate it again in another way: 

The decision to leave high school to attend an alternative school, or to take a high school equivalency test, is a personal decision for individuals to make for themselves; administrators should take a hands-off approach unless they're doing their best to provide objective advice to help students make their decision. 

2.  A Reddit GED Success Story!

A happy Test Prep Champions customer who recently conquered the GED test shared their experience on Reddit! Here's the Reddit user's own firsthand account:
Passed! from GED

Here's what else the user said about The Champions' Guide:

"I really liked the way the problems are worked out and how you show the reader WHY it works... thanks for making an easy to understand, easy to use guide!"

Reddit is an amazing, largely untapped resource for test takers. On the GED subreddit, users can swap ideas and get advice from other test takers!

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Thronelord!!!

1. FTC Shuts Down Operators of Fake Online "High Schools"

After over two years of investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), dozens of websites pushing fake online high school diplomas have been shut down! 

Two of the fake diploma mills that were reprimanded were Capitol Network Distance Learning Programs and Stepping Stonez Development, who both ran schemes that took hundreds of dollars from victims in exchange for fraudulent, unaccredited high school diplomas! 

As part of the settlement, the online diploma mill operators are now forbidden from selling any kind of academic degrees or certifications.

The GED Testing Service® played a pivotal role in the investigation by providing critical support to the FTC. 

It's very important to keep in mind that there is only one official GED® test, and that the test can only be taken in person at an official testing center; the test is not offered anywhere online!

This concludes the Test Prep Champions' Adult Education and GED News Roundup for the week of March 5th - March 12th! Thanks for reading it, and good luck with your studying!

This post first appeared on Test Prep Champions, please read the originial post: here

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Adult Education and GED News Roundup, Week of March 5th - March 12th, 2017


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