Sunday, October 29, 2017

Changes in Adult Education at ACC


Image from https://pixabay.com/en/adult-education-book-books-know-2706977/

Austin Community College has served as the primary sponsor of the Adult Education Program in Travis County since September 1973.  It is funded through federal, state and local (ACC) funds.  As a result, most people know that students can come to ACC to take free classes to prepare for and take the GED test to get their High School Equivalency Certificate.  The GED test has been around since the 1940’s, and was originally set up to help U.S. soldiers coming back from the war.   Over the years, it became nearly synonymous with “high school equivalency.”  But now in the last few years, options for students to get a high school equivalency diploma have changed dramatically.
The GED test was completely rewritten and the new version premiered in 2014.  The new test was more rigorous than the older version, and for the first time, the tests could only be taken on computer.  Around 2014 some new players entered the testing market too.  States across the country have been adding these tests as paths to a High School Equivalency Certificate.  In fact, in Texas the State Board of Education voted January 29, 2016 to award contracts to three separate companies to provide high school equivalency assessments.

Test takers may now select from one of the following three assessments:
GED test
HiSET exam
TASC test
You can find out more about the three tests and their differences at “Test Information at a Glance” on the TEA website.

In 2013, by legislative action, the adult education program in Texas was transferred from the Texas Education Agency to the Texas Workforce Commission.  While the TWC now oversees Adult Education and Literacy, the TEA continues to oversee the testing part and issues the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxCHSE).  This seems to be a better alignment for many of the students who are trying to get their high school equivalency certificate in order to get a better job.  That better job may even enable them to go on to college.
So, while the TWC Adult Education and Literacy program has oversight over high school equivalency educational programs, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) still manages the high school equivalency testing operation in Texas. You can learn more about Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency on the TEA website at Certificate of High SchoolEquivalency Information.
ACC offers two locations for students to sign up for and take the tests through the ACC Business Assessment Testing Center at the Highland Campus or Round Rock Campus locations.

In addition to helping students prepare for the test to get their high school equivalency diploma, theAdult Education Department also helps students through free classes in:

          ESL
         Career Pathways
         College Prep Program

The ACC Libraries support Adult Education students through materials available in print and online.  Study guides for all three test assessments are available.  There is a Research Guide for Adult Education that gives students tips on places to find help in studying for the different test sections, especially for Reading and Writing and Math.  It includes sources for ESL students and information on study skills and careers too.



Furthermore, the libraries provide study material and practice tests through two Databases. 

One is Learning Express

.

 Learning Express in particular covers all aspects of Adult Education, more than just study material to prepare for a High School Equivalency test.  It also covers ESL (preparing for the TOEFL), study skills and career exploration.  Additionally it has study material available in Spanish.


The Testing and Education Reference Center covers all three high school equivalency exams as well as tutorials in reading, writing and math.  It too covers ESL (preparing for the TOEFL) and career exploration.


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