Free Classes Available to Those Seeking High School Equivalency Diploma

October 9, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Carol Pritchard

If you never completed high school and would like to obtain an equivalency diploma you have that opportunity.

Free High School Equivalency (Hi-Set) Classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the County Complex at 722 South Congress Boulevard. Enter through the UT Extension/Motlow College Corridor, Room 119. Mary Anne Carpenter is the class instructor. On-line classes are also available.

Student registration is conducted on Mondays, beginning at 3:30 pm and then again on Tuesdays starting at 8:30 am – 12:00pm. The Toll Free phone number is: 855-516-0160.

Nearly 500,000 Tennesseans between the ages of 18 to 64 are without a high school diploma, according to the American Community Survey 5 year average. 31,015 of those reside in the Upper Cumberland region, and approximately 2,000 reside in DeKalb County alone. By 2022 the Tennessee Department of Labor estimates 32% of existing jobs and 39% of all new jobs will require some post-secondary education.

According to Paraprofessional Carol Pritchard, a focus on Adult Education saves money by reducing public assistance, health care and incarceration costs. Most importantly, adults are given the opportunity to improve their lives and better support their families. The Adult Education opportunities provided right here in Smithville are absolutely free and are designed to prepare students to successfully pass the HiSET®, general equivalency exam.

The General Educational Development (GED®) testing program was developed to give U.S. and Canadian citizens who have not graduated from high school the opportunity to demonstrate the level of achievement normally acquired through the completion of a traditional U.S./Canadian high school course of study. The current High School equivalency test, known as the HiSET®, covers five subject areas: Writing, social studies, science, reading, and math.

Benefits of Adult Education:
•Adult Education empowers individuals to become self-sufficient by providing the basic skills and knowledge necessary to complete a secondary education credential and works with individuals to help them meet their educational and career goals.

•Adult Education in Tennessee prepares students to be college and career ready, while earning a High School Equivalency Diploma. With a strong commitment to quality and efficient instruction that meets the needs of students, programs across the state help these students gain academic skills and credentials to transition to postsecondary education, be successful in the workplace, and contribute to their communities.

•Currently, a person with a high school credential earns about $10,000 annually more than a high school dropout. Individuals without a high school credential are more likely to be unemployed, three times as likely to live in poverty and eight times as likely to be incarcerated.

•Classes are available in every county across the state to enhance future employment opportunities and personal growth.

Process:
In order to enroll, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

•Must be 18 years of age.

•Not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school

•Do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent

To begin, individuals will take the CASAS® (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems) assessment to evaluate their reading, math, and language arts abilities. This will provide both the instructor and the student with an idea of where to best start the instructional process and insure that no valuable time is wasted between enrollment and successful completion of the program.

After completing some classroom instruction hours, students take another short CASAS® test to demonstrate academic gains and to allow the instructor and student to then work together in order to refine the learning process in order to prepare the student for the official practice test, or OPT. The goal is to assist the student to reach his/her goal in the shortest amount of time possible.

The Official Practice Test (OPT) has the same look and feel as the real High School Equivalency Test (HiSET®). The OPT allows the student to obtain firsthand experience answering questions written and developed by the HiSET® test creators. The results of the OPT indicate whether or not an individual is prepared for the HiSET®.

Finally, Governor Haslam and TN General Assembly have allocated funds to cover the cost of the official HiSET® exam. Individuals throughout the State of Tennessee can now enroll in classes and take the HiSET® in order to receive a high school equivalency diploma at no cost.

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