Enrollment Open for PCC’s Basic Skills Classes, including GED® Test preparation

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by Elizabeth Townsend

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Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Adult Basic Skills (ABS) program is offering instruction online and in traditional classes in the basic subject areas of Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies during spring semester 2014. Enrollment is currently underway for most classes and continues through Feb. 28.

Adults who lack a high school diploma or who lack high school level skills are eligible to enroll. Minors, ages 16-17, must be referred by their school and have a guardian release in order to be considered.

PCC offers classes Monday - Thursday during the day and evening. The College also offers hybrid courses that require students to participate online and face-to-face classes for a minimum number of hours per week. Instruction is free of charge and is available at both the Person and Caswell County Campuses. Online labs are offered in the afternoon, evenings and on Saturday mornings at the Person County Campus.

Debra Harlow, Dean of the Adult Basic Skills program, said the reasons why adults enroll in ABS classes vary from learning how to read to preparing for GED® testing, to preparing for college placement tests or job application tests, and for accomplishing their career goals.

In the Adults and Children in Education (ACE) class, parents/guardians of children 0-5 years old focus on gaining skills in order to help their children succeed in school, to help themselves complete their high school equivalency education, and to become college and/or job ready. “There is research to indicate that a mother’s level of education is the number one factor in determining the child’s success in school,” said Harlow. “In ABS, we focus on helping adults improve their core academic skills that directly impact their children’s literacy skill development.”

One way parents improve their literacy skills is by preparing for and completing the high school equivalency test. A new GED® test debuted this month, resulting in changes in PCC’s ABS program.

“Because GED® testing, a high school equivalency test, is revised every 10 years to equate to the average high school graduate’s level of knowledge, our ABS program content, materials, and teaching strategies have to be updated. The 2014 edition of GED® testing is a computer-based test, so we are incorporating computer literacy assessments and instruction as a required part of our curriculum this year as well as teaching students to use a virtual calculator for the math test,” said Harlow.

 “We encourage adults who were unable to pass GED® tests by the December 2013 deadline to not give up on themselves and their education. After all, reading is still reading and math is still math, etc. It is the format that has changed, the level of critical thinking skills involved in each question, and the price of the test. None of those things should be barriers to adults obtaining their high school equivalency credential.”

PCC offers instruction to prepare learners for the tests. The PCC Foundation will provide financial assistance to those who are unable to pay $120 for GED® testing or pay the $30 per subject (four subjects).

“The 2014 edition of GED® testing empowers students to be in charge of when they take the test and where. Students go online to register for the test and choose their test center. That process is new and is something we will help students with in our classes,” said Harlow.

The N.C. Community College System and the American Council on Education GED® Testing Service and Pearson Vue have designated PCC as a GED® Testing Center. PCC is the only official GED® Testing Center in Person County. 

For additional information on the Adult Basic Skills program or classes, contact the ABS office in Roxboro at (336) 322-2155, or Yanceyville at (336) 694-8057. Enrollment ends Feb. 28 for most classes.