Austin Community College is helping an increasing number of Central Texas adults earn their General Educational Development (GED) credential. The number of students who have completed ACC’s GED preparatory program and earned their high school equivalency certificate has increased 78 percent since 2008. This month, some 420 students graduated from the program – an increase of more than 20 percent in one year.
“Giving students the tools to earn this credential is extremely important, and we’re very happy with the upward trend we’re seeing,” says David Borden, executive director of adult education. “In order to build a more highly skilled workforce for the region, we must increase the number of educated adults, and ACC plays a key role in that process.”
While there has been an increase in student enrollment, the Adult Education Division has implemented changes to help more students complete the GED program. Tactics include more targeted curriculum in writing, reading, and math; instituting syllabi into classes so students understand teachers’ expectations; and emphasizing test-taking skills.
ACC also succeeds in preparing GED students for the next step in their education. Almost 50 percent of all ACC Adult Education students transition to college, compared with 20 percent statewide and 30 percent nationally. Adult Education provides advisors and targeted initiatives to help students move to college credit programs. A “Transitions” course builds adult students’ academic skills for higher education, while “College for a Day” gives Adult Education students an opportunity to experience credit classes.
“Transitioning Adult Education students to college credit coursework is one of ACC’s key student success goals,” says Borden. “Students who go on to achieve an associate degree have more career options and higher earning opportunities.”
ACC Adult Education programs made a major difference in the life of Raven Bottcher. She enrolled in the GED preparatory course so she could earn a diploma before her son finished high school. Bottcher passed the GED exam last year and is now in her second semester of taking college credit classes at ACC, majoring in photographic technology.
“Photography was something I always wanted to learn about, but I knew I couldn’t take classes until I got my GED. Now photojournalism is a profession I can actually consider,” Boettcher says.
For more information on Adult Education and GED testing, visit austincc.edu/abe.
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