Students urged to finish GED before January

Time is running out for students to complete current test

Gina Waller, lead instructor at Colorado Mountain College's Learning Lab in Glenwood Springs, helps students prepare to take their GED test. The current test will be retired in January, so the college encourages anyone who’s started preparing for the exam to take it before the end of 2013.

Gina Waller, lead instructor at Colorado Mountain College’s Learning Lab in Glenwood Springs, helps students prepare to take their GED test.

By Kristin Carlson

Paty Cruz is working hard to complete her general equivalency diploma before the existing test is retired in January. “I’m trying to beat the baby,” said Cruz, a student at the Colorado Mountain College Learning Lab in Glenwood Springs who is expecting a baby this summer.

Cruz and other students recently learned that the existing GED test will be replaced with a new test that will be strictly computerized starting in January 2014.

“The shift means that students who have passed one section, or more, of the current exam must pass every section by the end of this year (Dec. 31, 2013) or lose the points they’ve already earned,” explained Diane DeFord, adjunct instructor and retired associate professor of developmental studies at Colorado Mountain College.

In other words, anyone who’s only partly completed the old test by year’s end will have to start over from scratch in January, if they want to earn their GED.

So Colorado Mountain College faculty and staff are encouraging anyone who’s part way through taking their GED test to complete it over the next few months. And they’re rolling up their sleeves to help.

Earning GED crucial to pursuing career, life goals

Karen Armitano, director of developmental education, ESL and GED at the college, strongly encourages students to complete the exam soon — or to begin preparing for the new one. “In a struggling economy, education is more important than ever,” she said. “The instructors at CMC’s learning labs offer the kind of individualized attention people need to succeed if they are preparing to take the GED tests.”

“I want to be a good example for my kids,” said Yemina Caraveo, a mother of two who recently earned her GED. “For a month, I would look in the window [of the Glenwood Center’s Learning Lab] and try to convince myself to come in. I was scared, but I got a lot of support here.”

Caraveo and several other adults who recently attained their GEDs agreed that their achievement gave them confidence to take career-building classes. She and fellow student Ivon Soto are taking personal care assistant courses, while Esthela Sanchez is studying to become a paralegal.

Originally from Kenya, Abderrahmane Diallo works nights at City Market and spends his days studying to earn his GED. “I am from the desert,” he explained at a recent impromptu lunch at the lab. “That’s desert with one ‘s,’ not ‘dessert.’” With a satisfied smile, he added, “Mastering English makes me think I can do anything.”

“The importance of a diploma or GED in this economy can’t be overstated,” said Gina Waller, lead instructor at the Glenwood Center’s Learning Lab.  A study conducted in 2010 by the Bell Policy Center in Denver found that Coloradans who failed to complete high school or earn a GED experienced a significantly higher rate of unemployment.

Help is available at CMC campuses across north-central Colorado. For any learner seeking support to complete the current GED test, or planning to take the new one, CMC offers tutoring and guidance at campuses across Colorado. To research available options, visit www.coloradomtn.edu/web/classes/ged, or call your local campus.

For an overview of the upcoming changes in the GED test, or to take a practice test, log in at www.gedtestingservice.com.