Skills being taught, especially those related to goal-setting and time management, are essential in the academic success of adult students who consider themselves “primarily workers and not students” (Compton, Cox & Laanan, 2006, 74).
Basic Adult Education Adapting For The Future
As “the blue collar sector of the economy” continues to decline and jobs require a “more technologically sophisticated skillset” (Compton, Cox, Laanan, 2006, 74).
GED students will need algebra, computer skills, and time management to reduce the amount of remediation needed upon entering college (Zafft, 2006).
The GED Testing Service showed:
63% of those interested in furthering their education passed the necessary test,
30 to 35% actually attend college,
less than 3% acquired an associate’s degree (Zafft, 2006).
Matriculation of GED students into postsecondary institutions is low
“ 28-30% of all GED recipients” enroll in college
twice as many high school graduates obtain degrees ( Guglielmino & Pittman et al., 2005, slide 4, 6).
Andragogy and Adult Education
Andragogy is defined as the “art and science of teaching adults” and focuses on “primacy on the issues of application of knowledge to real life” (Forest & Peterson, 2006, p. 114).
The number of nontraditional students seeking postsecondary education is going to continue increasing which will mean that the emphasis on andragogy will become more prevalent in education as a whole(Bozick & DeLuca, 2005).
To provide for the differences in the learning process of adults, andragogy involves “four assumptions regarding [adult] learning:
a self-directing, self-concept;
use of experience, a readiness to learn;
and a performance-centered orientation to learning” (Forest & Peterson, 2006, p. 113).
Aspects of Andragogical Theory Supported by this Program
Andragogy requires that “learners know why something is important to learn” to increase their interest in learning the material (Conner, 2005, §13 ).
Since “65% of GED students” want to attend college, they understand the importance of what they are learning ( Guglielmino & Pittman et al., 2005, slide 3).
Andragogical principles require a person to be “ready and motivated to learn”, and the curriculum being taught in this program will assist GED students by developing their confidence in their abilities to help “them overcome inhibitions, behaviors and beliefs about learning” (Conner, 2005, §13).
Overview of Program
“ The Florida GED PLUS College Preparation Program is designed to assist eligible students to complete the GED program with the knowledge and skills necessary to reduce or eliminate their need for remedial or developmental classes when they continue their pursuit of education and employment ” (Guglielmino, 2006, p.1).
With “70% of the fastest-growing jobs” requiring “education beyond high school” and “40% of all new jobs” requiring “at least an associate’s degree”, this program was designed to encourage transition of GED students to postsecondary education ( Guglielmino & Pittman, et al., 2005, slide 3-5, 7, 9).
Overview of Program (cont.)
Development in reading, writing, and mathematics (including algebra) necessary for high entrance test scores
Preparation for goal-setting, time management, critical thinking, and problem solving skills necessary for success in a college environment
Implementation in various settings:
a small community college
a large community college,
or any other adult learning center
Benefits both the student and the institution
Remedial Studies and Correlation to College Completion
Statistics from “the National Center for Educational Statistics” reveal that “53 % of undergraduates enroll in remedial courses in postsecondary education” (Guglielmino, Pittman & Vondracek, 2006, 7).
“ Nearly one-half of undergraduates enrolled in remedial courses took a remedial writing course and 35% took remedial reading” with each class significantly lowering “the odds of a student completing any degree” (Guglielmino, Pittman & Vondracek, 2006, 7).
In fact, “Adelman states that” of the “students who have to take remedial reading in college for more than a year “ “only 5” complete college” which is indicative of how critical the high order thinking skills involved are to ultimate success((Guglielmino, Pittman & Vondracek, 2006, 7).
Moreover, the mindset of the students is important in their success and making them feel prepared for post secondary education begins to preparing them extensively in the areas of math and reading within the confines of a program such as the GED Plus program.
What are Higher Order Thinking Skills?
Higher order thinking skills can be identified as “the top three levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) and perhaps the new two lower levels (comprehension and application)” (Ennis, 1985, p. 45; Bisnell & Lemons, 2006, p. 67).
Importance of Higher Order Thinking Skills
“ United States Department of Education commissioned the Center for Critical Thinking to develop a model for the national assessment of higher-order learning (Geertsen, H.R., 2003, p. 6-7).
High order thinking skills are necessary to adapt to the unprecedented changes that will occur in the future (Geertsen, H.R., 2003, p. 16).
Among the type of higher order thinking skills necessary are critical thinking skills.
Higher Order Thinking Skills
High order thinking skills involve the ability to analyze information which is used to read, write and perform college level math.
Although approximately 1 in every 20 first-year college students is a GED recipient, few possess the skills in reading, writing, and algebra to succeed without remedial coursework (Tokpah & Padak, 2003, p. 8).
According to a study by Tokpah and Padak (2003), GED students and traditional students scored nearly the same on the COMPASS test in reading, however traditional students were more likely to bypass remedial coursework in both writing and especially mathematics where remediation is twice as likely to be needed (p. 9).
In fact, one type of high order thinking skill known as critical thinking is essential to perform the problem solving analysis enmeshed within standard post secondary curriculum.
John Dewey, an educator, defined critical thinking as “the judgments that an individual made while solving some problem” (Geertsen, H.R., 2003, p.2).
Another definition states that “critical thinking is reflective and reasonable thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do” (Ennis, 1985, p.45).
Critical thinking skills are necessary to enable a person to evaluate information which is a significant part of the learning process.
Of course, there are also certain noncognitive skills necessary for post secondary success.
Noncognitive Tools For Success
According to Heckman and Rubenstein (2001), the success of GED students is limited because they have not developed the noncognitive skills to succeed in the workplace (p. 146)
Noncognitive skills include:
Time management or prioritization
Perseverance (Heckman & Rubenstein, 2001).
In criticizing the results of the present GED teaching formula, Heckman & Rubenstein observe that “ GED's are "wiseguys," who lack the abilities to think ahead, to persist in tasks, or to adapt to their environments ” (2001, p. 146).
Gives you direction of you day, morning, week and life
Outlining ahead of time work that needs to be done
Create a “to do” list
Prioritizing Task includes two steps:
Determining what needs to be done
Deciding on the order in which to the tasks
Effective with your Time:
Learn to say “NO”
Make note of the tasks that need to be done verses the ones you want to do.
Prioritizing means: working on the most important task FIRST! No matter what!
Stephen Covey: Principles of Personal Management & Their Role in Helping GED Students Transition to Post Secondary Education
Covey’s Principles of Personal Management can serve as a tool to aid GED student’s transitioning to post secondary education by emphasizing certain areas which are critical in the success of GED students who wish to transition to post secondary education, including:
A focus on ethics: “The degree to which we have developed our independent will is measured by our personal integrity; Integrity is the value we place on ourselves” (Covey, 1995, p. ).
A focus on organization: “Effective management is putting first things first” ( Covey, 1995, p. ).
A focus on discipline: “Discipline derives from disciple – disciple:
to a philosophy
to a set of principles
to a set of values
To an overriding purpose
To a superordinate goal or a person who represents that goal” (Covey, 1995, p.).
A focus on resilience: “If you are an effective manager of your self, your discipline comes from within; it’s a function of your independent will”( Covey, 1995, p. ); and.
A focus on commitment which is also observed in the quote from E.M. Gray that states, “the successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do” ( ): “Requires independent will, the power to do something when you don’t want to do it, to be a function of your values rather than a function of the impulse or desire of any given moment. It’s the power to act with integrity to your proactive first creation” (Covey, 1995, p. ).
Stephen Covey: At the Center
What is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power
o Security: “represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it (Covey,1995). “
o Guidance: “means your source of direction in life. Encompassed by your map, you internal frame of reference that interprets for you what is happening out there, are standards or principles or implicit criteria that govern moment by moment decision- making and doing (Covey,1995).”
o Wisdom: “is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other (Covey,1995). “
o Power: “is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones (Covey,1995).”
A Glance Ahead
The current GED teaching formula is based on the short-term goal of obtaining a GED for high school equivalency purposes.
Due to economic forces, a high school diploma is insufficient to obtain a well-paid position, and the value of the high school diploma along with the GED will continue to decrease as employment requires post secondary education at a minimum.
By revamping the GED as a stepping stone to post secondary education, there is a potential to open up post secondary education for even the disadvantaged.
The future of adult education must adapt to meet the needs of the employment sector.
As less and less jobs are available that require less than post secondary education, it becomes even more important that GED programs provide students with the skills necessary to complete their post secondary education.
Baycich, D. GED Grads In College: building Awareness. Adult Learning.
Compton, J.I., Cox, E., Laanan, F.S. Adult Learners in Transition. New Directions for Student Services . (Summer, 2006). 114, 73-74. Retrieved fron September 11, 2007 rom EBSCO Host.
Conner, M.L. Andragogy and Pedagogy . (2005). Ageless Learner, 1997-2004. Retrieved on August 25, 2007 from, http://www.agelesslearner.com/intros/andragogy.html.
Guglielmino, L.M., Pittman, S. & Vondracek, B. Florida GED PLUS College Preparation Program. (2005). Retrieved on August 25, 2007 from, http://www.floridatechnet.org/gedplus/2005Institute/GEDPlusOverviewe1.ppt .
Guglielmino, L. M. (2006). Florida GED PLUS College Preparation Program Implementation Guide. Retrieved 13 September 2007 from http://www.floridatechnet.org/gedplus/
Heckman, J. J. & Rubenstein, Y. (2001 May). The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program. American Economic Review, 91 (2), 144-149. Retrieved 14 September 2007 from EBSCOHost database.
Tokpah, C. & Padak, N. (Summer, 2003). Academic Challenges. Adult Learning 14 (3), 8-10. Retrieved 14 September 2007 from EBSCOHost database.
Zafft, C. (2006). Key Partners in ABE-to-College Transition. Journal of Developmental Education. Vol. 30 Issue 2, p38-38, 1/3p. Retrieved August 13, 2007, from EBSCOhost online database.