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There are clearly a lot of challenges as to “how to qualify” people for educational programs and employment opportunities. What has been learned? Is knowing facts more or less important than having critical thinking skills? Is the “potential to learn” latent or evident? And who is the one gathering the Big Data for qualifications? What are their interests?

A  Las Cruces Sun News story on the challenges here in DAC, and specifically at DACC, concerning the GED tests and an alternate newly added in NM called HiSet, says few students were passing a recent revision of the GED by Pearson. Various causes for fail to pass the test are suggested, and one of them is that the new test was harder. (more rigor).

It gets a bit surreal when the answer to students not passing tests is to make the test easier to pass, but such is the reality in education, where capability and learning don’t seem to match up to the institutional expectations or methods. Remediation is often a matter of how far “back in time” one can pass the buck; iow, where did the lack of capability start, and can we fix it at it’s origin point?

Of course, the GED is supposed to somehow fix the problems after the fact; qualify learners who may or may not be qualified. PSA would suggest this area “needs a lot of work”, and that disruption and change via cloud tools will be part of the answer.

“My impression of the new GED is not favorable,” said Don Dutton, coordinator of high school equivalency at DACC. “With the increased price of the test, getting rid of paper tests and practice tests, and requiring a fair amount more rigor — it’s not much of an improvement. And the nationwide data backs this up. No one is passing it.”


“Our students come in with very different levels of motivation,” said Dutton. “Some might have a baby on the way, and want to complete their GED to better provide for that child. In that instance, they’re often highly motivated. And, at the other end of the spectrum, we may see students who have been ordered by the court to complete their GED. In such cases, they may be less motivated.”

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