Sunday, May 3, 2015

Three Months for One Point

The new GED, or Graduation Equivalency Degree, is befuddling scholars and school administrators across the country, as thousands of mostly young people hope for a second chance to acquire that elusive high school credential.

Before January, 2014, completing one's GED did not improve one's long term prospects for success.  In a study by James Heckman at the University of Chicago, high school dropouts and GED recipients fared about the same in terms of long-terms earnings and success.

Now, however, the GED is much harder to pass.  Students need to use higher order thinking skills which may have rarely or never been asked of them in the past.  GED pass rates as a result have plummeted.

RICH's tutors are working hard to improve on the pass rate as one of our partner schools, the Maya Angelou Young Adult Learning Center (YALC).  The YALC caters to students who might be taking an indirect path toward a high school diploma or who just need skill-building to qualify for a job training program.   RICH is extremely lucky to work with the YALC's talented, hard-working faculty, and we are lucky to have such equally skilled tutors to supplement the great work of the Maya staff.

RICH is working with many dedicated students, but in a number of ways, J stands out.  To pass the GED, you need to pass each of the four subtests:  social studies, reading and language arts, science, and math.  J has passed three of the subtests but is one point short on the fourth.  After recently taking this test, J must now wait three months before he takes it again.

Our students tend to be underserved and neglected by society.  Schools do not provide advanced classes or adequate facilities.  Housing is often substandard.  Children can be left with no sense of belonging or identity.  Not guided properly, our young people might make mistakes that they make up for years ago.  In J's case, we don't know why he is attempting his GED at his age, but RICH will continue to be with him every step of the way until he is on the path he is seeking.