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Promoting education and achievement of adults learning English

Services - Professional Development Workshops

Promoting Adult English Learner Success in High School Equivalency Testing

This workshop is designed for practitioners preparing adult English learners for the new generation of high school equivalency tests (GED®, Hi-SET, and TASC). It gives these practitioners an in-depth understanding of the new tests and the factors that can affect adult English learners’ success when taking them. It also provides strategies and teaching methods for addressing the challenges that English learners face in this type of testing.

The workshop may cover any or all of the following topics:

A. Models of Cognition

The new tests are built on models of knowledge or cognition that set certain expectations for examinees’ cognitive capabilities. In this part of the workshop, participants investigate and compare these models, including Bloom’s taxonomy and Webb’s depth of knowledge model. They identify the cultural understandings that these models encode and explore their implications for adult learners from varying cultural backgrounds.

B. Essentials of Adult Learning

Best practices in adult learning include drawing on learners’ rich array of life experiences to anchor learning, helping learners connect learning with their own lives and goals, and scaffolding for content and language knowledge. Participants consider ways in which they can employ these principles in high school equivalency preparation classes. 

C. Test Structure and Content

The new tests address language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, as the old GED test did, but at a 12th grade rather than a 10th grade level of knowledge. In this part of the workshop, participants examine the different test components, looking at how they are structured and what they expect examinees to know and be able to do.

D. Linguistic and Cultural Assumptions Underlying the Tests

The new tests all build in assumptions about examinees’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds and knowledge. These assumptions may not hold true for English learners, and thus may raise barriers that prevent these learners from succeeding on one or more test components. In this part of the workshop, participants identify these assumptions and explore their possible effects on learning. They then consider ways of addressing these assumptions in their teaching.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will be able to

  • Identify the learning models that underpin high school equivalency tests and their implications for instruction
  • Describe the fundamentals of adult second language acquisition, the characteristics of adult English learners, and promising practices for their instruction
  • Describe the content,  structure, and language requirements of the high school equivalency test(s) relevant to their situations (GED®, Hi-SET, TASC), and understand the implications for teaching ELs
  • Identify evidence-based strategies and resources for preparing adult English learners for high school equivalency testing
  • Design content-based activities, lessons, and units

Related CAL Resources
Promoting Learner Transitions to Postsecondary Education and Work: Developing Academic Readiness Skills From the Beginning

Supporting Adult English Language Learners' Transitions to Postsecondary Education

Contact Us
CAL staff will work with you to customize our services to meet your special requirements and budget.

For more information:
Call: 202-362-0700

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