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: KET Fast Forward http://ae.ket.org/
  • 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 three subject / topic areas. Each unit of instruction must:

  • incorporate all necessary content presentation, learner practice, and assessment materials for one hour of tutored instruction,
  • conform to the Style Guide (described in Section 5), and
  • utilize the provided PowerPoint Template (described in Section 5).

Unit 1. Science – Topic: Scientific Method

Facilitator: Wendy Gentry

Advisor: Dr. Ji Hyun Yu

Designers:

  • Shulong Yan
  • Hana Moudallal
  • Holly Marshburn

Focus:

This design team will develop a unit of instruction related to scientific problems that offers students practice in identifying the order of steps in the scientific method, identifying the missing step or steps in the scientific method, and explaining the steps in the scientific method as the topic is assessed on the GED test. The scope and specific objectives of this unit must align with the GED performance and assessment standards found here:

*Note: The Assessment Guide for Educators – Chapter 2 Section 2.30 Science Assessment Targets lays out the assessment targets for science, including the scientific method topic.

Unit 2. Social Studies – Topic: United States History (Overview)

Facilitator: Paige Hale
Advisor: Dr. Yvonne Earnshaw
Designers:

  • Alexa Franklin-Burrell
  • Colleen Jackson
  • Zhaihuan Dai

Focus:

This design team will develop will develop a unit of instruction that offers students practice opportunities related to an overview of all US History as the topic is assessed on the GED test. The scope and specific objectives of this unit must align with the GED performance and assessment standards found here:

* Note: The Assessment Guide for Educations – Chapter 2 Section 2.39 Social Studies Assessment Targets (pg. 2.47-2.48) lays out the assessment targets for US history.

Unit 3: Math – Topic: Fractions

Facilitator: Jason Engerman

Advisor: Dr. Monica Rysavy

Designers:

  • Elaine Rettger
  • Willette Brye
  • Carolina Sandoval

Focus:

This design team will develop a unit of instruction related to math that offers students practice with fractions as the topic is assessed on the GED test. The client requests specific focus on the student’s ability to:

  • Define what a fraction is—show visuals
  • Reduce fractions to simplest terms
  • Define improper fraction and mixed numbers
  • Change an improper fraction to a mixed number
  • Multiply and divide fractions
  • Add and subtract fractions

In addition, the client offers a roster of videos that have been useful in the past, and could be integrated within the lesson. The scope and specific objectives of this unit must align with the GED performance and assessment standards found here:

*Note: The Assessment Guide for Educations- Chapter 2 Section 2.20 Mathematical Reasoning Assessment Targets lays out the assessment targets for math.

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) Share Your Topic Preference: From a review of the available three units of instruction, please share your preference to design each unit within the Discussion Forum under the “Topic Preference” forum. Feel free to offer reasons for your preference, including experience with the topic.
3) (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.