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GEDs to PhDs. How can Adult Education, Literacy, and ESL Programs Successfully Transition GED Students into Postsecondary Education and Training? Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Jefferson County Kentucky Julie Scoskie Joyce Griffith.

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geds to phds
GEDs to PhDs

How can Adult Education, Literacy, and ESL Programs Successfully Transition GED Students into Postsecondary Education and Training?

Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education

Jefferson County Kentucky

Julie Scoskie

Joyce Griffith

Helping our students stay in the game . . .

  • Explore factors that may impact the successful transition of GED students to postsecondary education and training
  • Identify ways that programs can promote student success in transitioning
  • Review aspects of the Jefferson County Public Schools Adult Education Program
  • Share ideas

Where to begin. . .

        • Analyze the current system
        • Review program data
        • Profile students
        • Know the community
        • Identify resources
        • Review the research
        • Establish the playing field. . .
90% of the fastest-growing jobs will require some postsecondary education

The median earnings of a U.S. worker with only a high school diploma are 37% less than those of a worker with a bachelor’s degree

2008 GED Testing Program Statistical Report: GED Testing Service



  • Nationwide approximately 51% of GED test takers report a goal of entering college
  • Another 23% report a goal of entering vocational or technical training
  • An additional 9% report entering a certificate program as a goal

Tyler,J., What Do We Know About the Economic Benefits of the GED?

Only 30-35% of GED recipients actually enter postsecondary education


What skills do our students need to be successful in postsecondary education/training or employment?


What Work Requires of Schools

A SCANS Report for America, 2000

scans five workplace competencies
SCANSFive (Workplace) Competencies
  • Resources

Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources

  • Interpersonal

Works with others

  • Information

Acquires and evaluates information

  • Systems

Understands complex interrelationships

  • Technology

Works with a variety of technologies

foundation scans skills and personal qualities
Foundation SCANS Skills and Personal Qualities
  • Basic Skills – reading, writing, mathematics, listening, speaking
  • Thinking Skills – creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, visualizing, knowing how to learn, reasoning
  • Personal Qualities – responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self management, integrity/honesty

Equipped For the Future (EFF) Research Report

Building the Framework, 1993-1997

eff four purposes for learning
(EFF)Four Purposes for Learning
  • Access: To gain access to information and resources so that adults can orient themselves in the world
  • Voice: To express ideas and opinions with the confidence they will be heard and taken into account
  • Action: To solve problems and make decisions without having to rely on others to mediate the world for them
  • Bridge to the Future: Learning to learn so that adults can be prepared to keep up with the world as it changes

Educational and Labor Market Performance of GED Recipients, Feb. 1998Office of Educational Research and Improvement, US Department of Education

“Lack of persistence is an important factor that differentiates high school graduates from non-graduates. . . . .GED recipients have lower postsecondary graduation rates, higher attrition rates in the military, higher job turnover and less work experience. . . . Intensive counseling interventions that reinforce persistence may improve outcomes for students in general.



“After controlling for education level or ability, the GED credential has little direct effect on wages, annual earnings and employment, particularly for males and non-whites. The positive effects on job-related outcomes seem to derive from the postsecondary education and job training available to those who pass the test. . . . . . .policymakers may wish to consider alternative programs, such as high school completion programs, that offer dropouts the benefits of structure, rigor and longevity found in regular high school programs.



Key Issues

  • Between 50 and 63% of GED graduates enroll in 2-4 yr colleges, vocational schools, apprenticeship programs, or on-the-job- training, and another 10% enter military training
  • Of those who sought vocational training, only 45% graduated
  • Of those who sought an associate’s degree, only 12.2% graduated
  • GED recipients were only half as likely to earn an associate’s degree as a high school graduate (GPAs were comparable)

New England Adult Learner Persistence Project

NCSALL Researchers Comings, Parrella, and Soricone

four key supports of adult learner persistence
Four Key Supports of Adult Learner Persistence
  • Using the goal set by the student as the context for instruction and then reviewing and revising the goal as needed.
  • Helping students develop an understanding of the negative and positive forces that affect their persistence and building on that understanding, helping them make plans to manage those forces and build up positive ones
  • Fostering students’ self-efficacy regarding goal attainment and the academic achievement it entails
  • Instituting assessment procedures that allow students to assess their progress toward their goals on a regular basis


With your group, identify four (4) skills that students need to be successful in postsecondary education/training or work situations.

Prioritize them from the most to the least important.

Share what your program is doing or will do to help students acquire the prioritized skills.


It’s more than the GED!

  • Postsecondary Education
  • Employment/Training
  • Lifelong Learning
communicate the message
Communicate the message!

To all the players . . . .

The game is changing. . . .


The Jefferson County Model



Leveled Instruction

GED Express

College Bound


English as a Second Language

Specialized Services

getting started
Getting Started
  • Our team identified and prioritized skills needed
      • Organization and time management
      • Critical thinking skills and self-efficacy
      • Problem solving
      • Technology
  • We aligned our system to embed those skills

Attendance policy

Learner contracts


Computer labs

  • Students make choices about their learning options
        • Goal setting
        • Learning styles and self-advocacy
        • Time management
        • Discussion of barriers
        • Expectations of the program
        • Appropriate assessment
        • Individual advising
        • Student Services Center
          • On-going support for students
          • Referrals to partners in the community for assistance with barriers, college information, etc.
  • Managed Enrollment
    • Classes have set start dates and end dates
    • Standardized curriculum based on state standards
    • Technology is embedded
    • Open labs are provided for extra practice and tutoring
    • Homework is expected
    • Attendance and punctuality are expected
    • Specialized classes and services are available for struggling or at-risk students
  • Read Kentucky
  • Louisville Learns
      • TABE scores below 4.0
      • Reading and math instruction
      • Universal design
      • Small classes
    • Power Path
        • Designed to provide strategies specific to identified learning differences
        • Includes vision and auditory screenings
        • Empowers students to learn how to learn
ged express
GED Express
  • Provides an intense (32-hour) GED preparation course designed for higher level students who need the GED quickly for work or postsecondary education
  • May also serve as an incentive for intermediate students to “Hop on the Express!”
  • Requires highly motivated instructors and students
  • Travels to community locations “Coming to your area soon!”
  • Has GED pass rates of 82-100%
  • Provides information on postsecondary education
college bound
College Bound
  • Provides Introduction to College (GE 100), a free one-credit hour course specifically designed for first time or first generation college students
  • Encourages students to enroll in the college once they have passed the Official Practice Test
  • Offers the opportunity to enroll in additional classes
  • Taught both on the local campus and in our Learning Centers
ees educational enrichment services
EESEducational Enrichment Services
  • A program designed to assist students whose COMPASS scores are below the normal range for developmental courses at the college
  • Courses (math, reading, or ESL) appear on the student’s schedule just like any other college class
      • Taught by adult education instructors
      • Offered free
      • Mirror college classes
  • Students may be enrolled in other classes at the college
english as a second language
English as a Second Language
  • International GED class
      • Serves international students who want to pass the GED in English
  • EES
      • Offered free in partnership with the local community college
      • Taught by adult education instructors on the college campus
      • Grammar, reading and conversation classes designed to assist ESL learners to gain the skills needed to succeed in an academic program
other services
Other Services
  • Grants
    • Kentucky Can ($8000 grant to transition 50 GED students to postsecondary education)
  • Partnerships
      • Kentuckiana College Access Center: Connects students with colleges and provides assistance with financial aid
      • Jefferson County Community and Technical College
      • Louisville Free Public Library: Pays half of the cost of the GED to students who have a library card
      • Local One-Stops (Workforce Investment Boards)
  • Scholarships
      • Actively seek and communicate scholarship opportunities to students

Continually improve the program. . .

Measure success

Survey students

One bite at a time. . .

questions comments
Questions& Comments

For more information contact

Joyce Griffith

(502) 485-7024 or

Julie Scoskie

(502) 485-3816 or

or visit