Here in Florida adult learners are fortunate enough to have the choice between two methods of earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. One can either enroll in an Adult High School program or take the General Education Development (GED) exam. While the AHS programs yield a high school diploma recognized by the state of Florida, passing the GED exam is the equivalent to obtaining a diploma. So what are the differences in these programs? Are there benefits/disadvantages of choosing one method over the other? How can you help your adult learners decide which program is right for them? Lucky for you, my dear reader, I did my homework.
Although each method effectively earns your adult learner a diploma or its equivalent (as long as he/she does his/her homework!), there are some factors to consider. You’ll first want to discover exactly how late into your adult learner’s high school career did he/she drop out. The Florida high school diploma requires that students receive 24 credits in order to graduate, so if your adult learner already has earned a good amount of these credits, he/she can simply enroll in an AHS program to finish what they started. If this endeavor would require the adult learner to spend a considerable amount of time and money pursuing an adult high school diploma, taking the GED is probably the choice route. This is likely the biggest factor to consider when choosing between AHS or GED.
In terms of coursework, both paths sufficiently prepare adult learners in the 4 core areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. The GED exam assesses these areas while the FCATs/EOCs assess these areas for AHS programs. Furthermore, successful completion of either program is recognized by state colleges and universities as equal to a high school education. Digital literacy skills may also factor into an adult learner’s decision since the GED exam becomes completely digital on January 2014.
Another factor is time, which of course drags along money. Adult learners usually prepare for the GED exam in 6 weeks, and it costs $120 for Florida residents. Re-takes in Florida cost $14 per sub-test, except for the Language Arts Writing section which costs $16, and $26 per sub-test for the 2014 GED test on computers. AHS programs require students to purchase books along with $30 per course for Florida state residents or $120 per course for out-of-state residents. Courses are more flexible for AHS programs, but they also take longer, normally lasting the length of a semester at college. It’s also worth noting that when preparing to move to high education, recipients of an adult high school diploma and those that passed the GED may qualify for a Bright Futures Scholarship.
It would be a shame not to finish this little five-paragraph essay (or drop that phrase for SEO) without some sort of conclusion. Before your adult learners enroll in an Adult Basic Education program, make sure that they consider all the factors. The amount of high school credits previously completed, time it will take to receive a diploma or its equivalent, and the costs of each program.
For more information on adult education, visit http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/adulted/.
For AHS programs- http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/dwdframe/pdf/AHS.pdf
For the GED exam- http://www.gedtestingservice.com/ged-testing-service