State Board Updates GED Option

August 11, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board on Wednesday approved changes to state policy designed to help struggling high school students stay in school and earn a GED® diploma.

Updates to Policy 2444.4: Issuance of the State of West Virginia General Educational Development (GED) Diploma incorporate changes to state law designed to improve student participation, success and high school graduation rates.

The changes will allow West Virginia to participate in the GED Option program through the American Council on Education GED Testing Service. The program will allow students ages 16, 17 and 18 to remain enrolled in high school while completing GED requirements. Currently, those under age 18 who want to pursue a GED must withdraw from school before taking the GED test.

In addition, West Virginia’s program goes further by allowing potential GED students to remain in career and technical education courses. These students will be able to earn a GED as well as certification in their chosen career-technical field resulting in a high school diploma. The GED is recognized by 98 percent of employers, as well as colleges and universities.

“These changes likely will give students at risk of dropping out of high school the hope of graduating on time and will result not only in a high school diploma but a certification of skills for employment,” said Assistant State Superintendent Kathy D’Antoni.

Twenty-six county school systems will pilot the GED Option this fall at 16 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers and at the state’s three Institutional Education Program sites. Students in the GED Option program will be expected to attend GED preparation classes and the GED tests; complete a 21st Century Global Skills job preparation program; complete four required core courses in a skilled pathway concentration or any program of study resulting in a certification; meet standards on the WorkKeys job skills assessment, if applicable; reach or exceed the cut scores on the End-of-Concentration Performance Assessment, if applicable; and complete additional classes via West Virginia Virtual School.

Pilot sites are:

1. Wayne County

2. Pleasants County

3. Randolph County

4. Mercer County

5. Monroe County

6. James Rumsey Career and Technical Center (Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan)

7. United Technical Center (Harrison, Doddridge and Taylor)

8. Fred Eberle Career and Technical Center (Upshur, Lewis, Barbour)

9. South Branch Career and Technical Center (Grant, Hardy, Pendleton)

10. Roane Jackson Career and Technical Center (Roane, Jackson)

11. Calhoun Gilmer Career and Technical Center (Calhoun, Gilmer)

12. Mineral County

13. Braxton County

14. Marion County

15. Mount View High School (McDowell)

16. Riverside High School (Kanawha)

17. Anthony Center (Office of Institutional Education Programs)

18. West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth (Office of Institutional Education Programs)

19. Honey Rubenstein Center (Office of Institutional Education Programs).

Debra Kimbler, GED coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education said the changes will benefit those at risk of dropping out of school and the students who dropout but then attempt the GED tests on their own. In 2008-2009, 1,322 teenagers attempted the GED. If those students would have remained in school to take the GED and concurrently enrolled in a Career and Technical Education pathway, they would no longer be included in the state’s dropout rates, would gain additional educational opportunities through CTE and receive a high school diploma, Kimbler said. Others that will benefit from this program are students who drop out of school but do not take the GED. About 2,000 students fell into this category in 2008-2009.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.

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