Amelia Herring

Getting Beyond Remedial Classes

Getting Beyond Remedial Classes
Amelia Herring

In this blog, Wonderlic discusses the importance of helping your students master the basics before you let them take the GED and move on with their careers and/or education.

Today we’re am going to be discussing why it’s important to go beyond just passing remedial classes.

Each student walking in your door has certain skill gaps keeping them from continuing education or obtaining better employment. Your responsibility as an adult educator is now expanding to ensure that you’re counseling these students to help them plan for future education and training, and not allowing them to simply squeak by. By letting them just barely meet the minimum requirements to pass the GED, you’re setting them up to potentially fail in the workforce. Your students need to obtain sufficient skills for the future, and you need to help them plan on how to get there.

The reality is adult education is evolving with higher standards and outcomes. The GED is no longer the end goal. Adult education is now accountable in helping students enter postsecondary education or obtain better employment. So there are three things you can do to help ensure they are successfully reaching the end goal.

First, establish realistic student expectations. Most of your students want their GED and they want it now! They may be impatient and pretty much in “crisis” mode. They’ll put the pressure on you to allow them to take the GED before they’re really ready. Don’t do it! Allowing them to take the test before they’re truly ready is not doing them any favors. Talk to them about the consequences of taking the test before they’re prepared. Encourage them to stay focused on their end goal, which is entering postsecondary education and obtaining employment. Obtaining a minimum score on the GED has the risk of them landing into Developmental Education in postsecondary education. Dev Ed is costly: both in money and psychologically. It is well documented that students are at a much higher risk of not continuing in postsecondary education if they spend more than a couple of semesters in Dev Ed.

Second, establish a baseline of foundation skills and a targeted instruction plan. In adult education you want to make sure that assessment drives instruction. By using a detailed diagnostic test to determine exactly what each student needs to learn, you can teach more effectively and help them make progress more quickly. It’s important for students to understand what they need to learn and to be accountable for their education. It’s also important that teachers teach the right things.

Finally, require that they complete the program before exit. Set the expectation – during intake – that success is dependent upon completion. If you allow a student to take the GED before they’ve completed the program and they pass, but just barely, the chances are slim that they’ll come back to finish. Raise the bar. Keep them in the courses a little longer and make sure they’ll do more than just squeak by. Give them a foundation of skills so that when they do go on to community college, they don’t end up in a developmental education course. Like I said earlier – that can be a recipe for disaster.

By helping students realize their potential and establishing a plan to get them there, the result will be better outcome potentials.

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