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College Strengthens GED Program

February_8_11_ClgStr_GED

Nyesha Heath (left) of Tarboro studies for the GED exam with the help of instructor Katrina Sessoms at the Edgecombe Community College Adult Enrichment Center.

In 2010, Edgecombe Community College graduated 334 students from its GED program. This year, the college hopes to surpass this figure and graduate 400 GED students.

“We’re always reaching a little higher,” says Troy Winstead, coordinator of the Adult Enrichment Center, which is part of the college’s Continuing Education division.

The General Education Development (GED) Program is geared for the adult who, after dropping out of public school, returns to earn the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Five GED tests are administered, one each in writing, literature, science, mathematics, and social studies. A minimum score of 410 is required to pass a GED test, with a total score of 2250 required to earn a GED diploma.

Students may re-enroll in the program until they successfully complete all requirements.

To reach its goal of 400 GED graduates, ECC has implemented Achievement in Motion, or AIM, an enrollment initiative that urges new GED students to continue moving forward with their education.

“One of the major changes is that we’ve gone to managed enrollment, which is a more structured enrollment,” Winstead explains.

Instead of five intake periods throughout the year for GED students, the college now holds two scheduled enrollments per semester, and each session lasts eight weeks.

In addition to shorter enrollment times, class size has been limited. The managed enrollment system also requires students to attend classes on a more regular basis than before.

“Everybody moves at the same pace,” Winstead says. “And by having two orientations, we hope to increase our retention.”

In addition to more structured GED classes, the college added literature, social studies, and science to the GED curriculum of math and writing.

“Over the years, we’ve tried to make improvements, like adding three levels of math, and we’re still making changes,” Winstead says. “On the agenda is adding a class in Rocky Mount for low readers. This would be for the elderly person who never learned how to read, for example.”

Another improvement already in place is the college’s new tutoring system. In addition to group sessions, one-on-one tutors are now available.

The college has hired additional instructors and purchased new computer software, DVDs, and other instructional tools to help students prepare for the GED exam.

“Getting a GED certificate means opening doors to new possibilities, the opportunity to further education, the chance for financial security, and a more prosperous life for families,” Winstead adds.

ECC’s next GED orientation will be held March 3 and 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day on both the Rocky Mount and Tarboro campuses. Students may call 823-5166 to register: ext. 342 for Rocky Mount and ext. 229 for Tarboro.

Tuition is free for the GED program. A one-time testing fee of $7.50 is good for five years.