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“Our concern, at least in the short term, is that we’ll have a group of students who, in addition to academic skills, will need to learn keyboarding skills as well,” she said.
Some students, in particular immigrants or older adults who didn’t grow up with computers, may struggle, especially because the test is timed, said Craig Anderson, an instructor with Metro South ABE.
The new content, too, may be difficult for many students, said Gaby Postiglione, Hastings ABE coordinator.
“They’re telling us the content is going to be more rigorous and complex. Students will need to be able to read and interpret multiple texts,” Postiglione said.
But in some ways, the new test may benefit students, said Lind.
“We’re trying to get our students to not just pass the GED, but to get ready to go to college afterward,” he said.
Watts agrees. “We’re hearing from employers and community partners that students need computer skills.”
Spreading the word
To get the word out to students that their old tests will expire, GED staffers have been sending letters and making phone calls, Watts and Johnson said.
Other GED teachers, like Clarice Grabau with Dakota Prairie ABE, have started a Facebook page, connected with community organizations and advertised in newsletters to spread the news.
The Department of Education also will roll out an advertising campaign beginning in late spring, Colwell said.
With eight months before the new test comes, there’s still time for students to finish up.
“The change is coming. Don’t wait until December 2013 to come in and test. There are lots of programs in the metro area that can help assist students on that journey,” Sieve said.
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283