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Lead Instructor at Literacy Council of Alaska in Fairbanks discusses GED application rise

The Literacy Council of Alaska offers myriad services ranging from GED testing to English...
The Literacy Council of Alaska offers myriad services ranging from GED testing to English Language and Citizenship classes.(Ryan Osborne)
Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 4:14 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -While the status and future of general education remains uncertain amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in residents seeking their General Educational Development (GED) diplomas.

The GED is a functional alternative to a high school diploma, and the test to acquire it requires participants be at least 18 years of age; however there has been a recent increase in inquiries from younger students seeking GEDs as an alternative to completing high-school.

Brian Davis, program coordinator and lead instructor at the Literacy Council of Alaska told us, “In the past six months or so I’ve gotten more calls from 15, 16, 17 year old high school students than I have in the last three years combined. I’ve had to turn away more 15 and 14 year olds. I’m like, ‘I can’t recommend that you leave school, I’m not going to recommend you leave school, you need to stay in school.’”

This increase could be attributed in part to the fluctuating state of high school education as institutions adapt to the ongoing pandemic.

“So the youth, the folks who are current high school students, they’re not doing well, and I think that’s across the board. You know the whole nation went to this online learning thing and high-schoolers across the nation kind of said ‘yeah, no, not interested’ - and so we’ve gotten a lot of inquiries from them,” said Davis.

In addition to students too young to take the GED test, there has been a similar rise in the number of eligible residents completing the test.

“We have seen an uptick in graduates here recently in the past, in the fall 2020. But I think it discredits the hard work of the GED team here and the folks at the local community college who are responsible for testing to attribute it all to COVID. COVID effected everybody nationwide, but not all programs saw a positive increase in the GED graduates. So it’s one thing to have people interested, it’s another thing to be able to handle those folks once they’re interested and really get them through the process,” Davis continued.

GED Testing Service has adapted its testing procedures to make it easier for applicants to take the test while under quarantine, such as allowing people to take the test at home under the supervision of an online video proctor.

“It’s challenging, but the testing material hasn’t changed. There was that concern as well that if they make too many accommodations or if they cut too many corners you dilute the quality, or the integrity of the test. So they stayed away from that. The test is still challenging but they did try, and I think made a lot of accommodations for students,” said Davis.

For more information on acquiring a GED or other Literacy Council services, including English as a Second Language and Citizenship classes, visit literacycouncilofalaska.org

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