National GED Director visits Kent State

Joseph A. Stanonik

Joan Auchter, the national Executive Director of GED Testing Services, visited Kent State to help administer two focus groups of GED scholars attending the university.

The Ohio Literacy Resource Center and the GED Scholars Initiative at Kent State hosted the groups Friday.

The focus groups, according to Auchter, aimed to discover what GED students need in order to succeed in a college atmosphere.

“They are not like 18-year-olds who come out of high school and know how to study,” Auchter said. “They have to relearn (skills such as) how to study and time management.”

Interim Director of the initiative, Brian White, said the focus groups are aimed at discovering what aspects made some GED graduates more successful than others. White was a GED graduate at Kent State when the program started in 2001.

The focus groups try to determine if there is a relationship with being actively associated with any support group and academic success for GED scholars, White said.

“You have to separate the university from the program,” White said. “The program works. It’s the university that is not set up for non-traditional students.”

Students from the program earned their GED at least five years ago. The main topics of the focus groups included how to work with the university to get financial aid; finding places on campus to study; using technology such as e-mail accounts, online resources and computer labs; and building support groups.

“Most of these students are the first of their family to go to college,” Auchter said. “They need to feel connected. Just knowing someone is watching your back can help.”

The GED Scholars Initiative was set up in the university by the OLRC to help address the specific needs of GED graduates. It was the first of its kind.

The initiative works with other university programs and on-campus programs to provide academic resources like mentoring, tutoring and financial support to help GED scholars meet the university’s standards.

The program aims at increasing GED graduates’ awareness of student life including resources and student activities, developing career-related internships and offering support and resources to meet the characteristic needs of GED scholars, which often include single parent status, lack of parental support, part-time enrollment and financial needs.

According to GED Testing Service, more than 600,000 adults worldwide earn GEDs each year. One out of every seven high school degrees, annually, is determined by a high school equivalency test.

Contact College of Education reporter Joseph A. Stanonik at [email protected].