After GED test was rewritten, computerized and privatized in 2014, test scores through the state have plummeted, according to data from the Colorado Department of Education.
Rocky Mountain PBS I-News reports that the content now reflects the national Common Core standards and costs $150 for all four modules – $90 more than previously.
Since the changes, the number of Coloradans taking and passing the new test each week has plummeted by 75 percent, I-News reported.
Those on the Front Range are commuting to Wyoming in order to take the HiSet, I-News reported recently in The Journal.
Miller says the statewide trend parallels what she has observed at Unlimited Learning.
“Many here in the Southwest are going to New Mexico to take the HiSet,” said Miller.
In addition to offering the GED alternative, Unlimited Learning is also enrolling for its new STEM Labs, which are free and open to anyone in the community looking to transition into the health care or energy fields.
The program is the result of a $450,000 grant Unlimited Learning and its partner schools – Pine River Community Learning Center in Ignacio; and Montrose Adult Education Center in Montrose County – received earlier this year.
The curriculum for both the energy and health-care track is built on four principles: mechanical, electrical, fluid and thermal. Aside from hands-on labs in which students put the basic STEM principles into action, the curriculum also has incorporated math and communication modules, as well as career counseling.
The overall goal for the program, Miller says, is to ensure mastery of basic concepts found in textbooks, and bring them to life for students – many of whom are second-language learners or have low reading levels.
The labs provide participants with the skills and basic training they need to pass the Accuplacer to continue education at the college level, or secure an entry-level position as a medical assistant or industrial technician.
The alternative education center is hosting an open house on Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for community members interested in enrolling in either the GED program or the new STEM Prep Learning Labs program.