Section 3: Our Client’s Need

The GED Test Changes

2014 GED Test Revisions

In 2014, the GED Testing Service amended the requirements for the GED test from the former 2002 version. The new GED test aligns with the College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards released in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education as a guide for adult education programs that prepare learners for post-secondary college and career training. The CCR standards were crafted to dovetail with the K12 Common Core Standards. In addition to the inclusion of knowledge and skills that were not part of the prior test, the revised test is now only delivered online, which requires several technology skills not previously needed by test takers. While previous versions of the test were based on multiple-choice items, the new test items include drag-and-drop, fill-in the blank, as well as short and long essays.

The following documents and websites describe the standards underlying the GED test, as well as information from the GED Testing Service:

Commercial Test Preparation

Not surprisingly, commercial publishers have rushed to provide for-fee instructional materials. In addition, both public and private educational institutions have revised their adult basic education curriculum to support the new test, including online study options such as Ed2Go. The GED Testing Service provides a roster of commercial text-based and online resources on their website at http://www.gedtestingservice.com/shop/

Grace Centers of Hope utilizes a few commercial options, as well. Note that the books are available at most local libraries:

  • Online Software: http://www.aztecsoftware.com/course/ged-preparation/
  • McGraw-Hill Education (2014). McGraw-Hill Education Preparation for the GED® Test (2 edition.). Chicago, IL: McGraw-Hill.
  • Slyke, C. V. (2013). New GED® Test Strategies, Practice, and Review with 2 Practice Tests: Book + Online – Fully Updated for the 2014 GED (11th Edition edition.). Kaplan Publishing.

Open Educational Resources

As you likely noticed within the project description, all materials created by students during this service-learning project are open educational resources (OER) released under a Creative Commons 4.0 License (click on image below to see a copy of the license). If you are not familiar with the various types of licenses, Creative Commons offers an overview.

A major objective of our pilot project in the spring of 2014 was to document available open education resources created in a K12 setting and to adapt them for this adult basic education need. That objective remains during this next iteration of the project. Wherever possible, our goal is NOT to reinvent the wheel, but to improve upon it for our adult learner audience. Therefore, please keep an eye out for existing OER that can be adapted for your purposes. If there is an existing quality openly licensed image, video, assessment, etc. that aligns with the context of your lesson … by all means adapt it and use it!

The volunteer service-learner team in the spring of 2014 unearthed hundreds (thousands?) of resources that are available for us (and others) to adapt for our project. Here are the materials they documented for your potential use:

Some may ask, “Why would we do this work only to give it away for free?” The answer has lot of layers, some pragmatic and some altruistic. From a pragmatic standpoint, we recognize that our student volunteers are donating their time and effort to create the resources, so it is important to us that they retain full access to their work. From an altruistic standpoint, we founded Designers for Learning with a charitable purpose. We feel we can achieve the greatest good by sharing openly the fruits of our collective efforts for the benefit of our client, as well as others.

Desired Instructional Materials

The announced GED test changes in 2014 posed a significant threat to Grace Centers of Hope’s ability to provide clients with instruction that matched the new testing requirements. Upon learning of the test changes, Kim Philip feared that the existing instructional materials designed to align with the prior version of the test would no longer be applicable to new version. Kim has requested help developing instructional materials in the following six subject / topic areas, as well as revising a few of the instructional modules prepared in the spring of 2014 service-learning cohort:

Unit 1. Science – Topic: Scientific Method

Given a scientific problem, a student should be able to:

  • Identify the order of steps in the scientific method.
  • Identify the missing step or steps in the scientific method.
  • Explain the steps in the scientific method.

Unit 2. Science – Topic: Design a Scientific Experiment (3 parts)

Part 1:

Given examples of hypotheses, the student should be able to:

  • Identify the valid hypothesis.
  • State a valid hypothesis.
  • Explain why a hypothesis is valid or invalid.

Part 2*:

Given a valid hypothesis, the student should be able to:

  • Recognize the specific elements required for designing an experiment.
  • Design an experiment.
  • Describe the data collection process of the experiment that includes an explanation of how the experiment will determine if the proposed hypothesis is correct.

* For further explanation regarding Part 2 of this unit, see the GED sample test prompt on page 11 of link: http://www.gedtestingservice.com/uploads/files/89097368525e28544f77607f31391c4f.pdf. In his or her short answer, the student needs to include a control group, a data collection method, and how he will determine if his hypothesis is right or wrong. Here’s an example: Design a controlled experiment that the xxx can be used to test this hypothesis. Include descriptions of data collection and how the xxx will determine whether the proposed hypothesis is correct. (Type your response in the box. This task may require approximately 10 minutes to complete.)

Part 3:

Given a flawed experiment, the student should be able to:

  • Identify the problem with the experiment.
  • Explain why the experiment is flawed.

Unit 3. Writing – Topic: Creating an Outline in Response to a Writing Prompt (2 parts)

Given a writing prompt and a Constructed Response Organizer, students should be able to:

  • Provide an appropriate response the prompt.
  • Analyze text for supporting evidence.
  • Develop a thesis statement.
  • Develop a conclusion.

Unit 4. Writing – Topic: Paraphrasing and Summarizing (2 parts)

Part 1:

Given a short essay, short story, or excerpt from a longer piece of writing, students should be able to:

  • Summarize a sample piece of writing.
  • Avoid plagiarizing in the writing of a paraphrase or summary.

Part 2:

Given a sample of informative text, students should be able to:

  • Identify relevant information.

Unit 5. Math and Science – Topic: Combinations and Permutations

Given a specific problem and a TI-30XS calculator*, students should be able to:

  • Use appropriate techniques to solve problems.
  • Use appropriate techniques to determine combinations and permutations.

*Note: There is a button students can use on their calculators (TI-30XS) to determine combinations without replacement and permutations. Students need to be able to perform this function on the calculator.

Unit 6. Math and Science – Topic: Probability

Given various compound events, students should be able to:

  • Determine the probability of simple (15 minutes) and compound (more difficult) events.
  • Recognize probability in context.
  • Explain probability in context.

To-Do

1) In addition to viewing the documents and websites noted above that describe the changes to the GED test, please complete at least one of the following:

  • Browse the GED Test Preparation materials at your local library. It is likely that your library carries several, including a copy of one of the books used by Grace Centers of Hope noted above.
  • Free Practice Test: Review the free GED practice tests, and complete a practice test in one (or more) of the subject areas.

2) (Optional) If you have a recommendation of potential open education resources not mentioned above that you feel could be used on this project, please share it in either our Diigo Social Bookmark Group, or discuss it in the “Resources” Discussion Forum.