New GED Option Becomes Popular Alternative for At-risk Students

September 27, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An updated state policy designed to help struggling high school students stay in school, learn a skill and earn a GED® diploma is gaining popularity statewide.

In August, the West Virginia Board of Education changed Policy 2444.4: Issuance of the State of West Virginia General Educational Development (GED) Diploma to allow West Virginia to participate in the GED Option program through the American Council on Education GED Testing Service. The program allows students ages 16, 17 and 18 to remain enrolled in high school while completing GED requirements. Before the change, those under age 18 who wanted to pursue a GED were forced to withdraw from school before taking the GED test and often found themselves struggling without an appropriate support system.

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 employers, as well as colleges and universities.

Since August, seminars about the GED Option Pathway conducted statewide have been packed with inquisitive parents and students eager to participate in the program. In Cabell County, for example, about 100 students have signed up to participate in the program.

“West Virginia is the first state to use the GED Option program to require at-risk students to complete some form of career and technical education,” said Kathy D’Antoni, West Virginia assistant superintendent of the Division of Technical, Adult and Instructional Education. “This important requirement gives struggling students a viable way to graduate, get a job and become a productive tax-paying member of society.”

Statewide, 23 county school systems and the state’s three Institutional Education Program sites are serving as pilot sites for the GED Option Pathway. Students in the GED Option program are 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.

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

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