GED program changes outlined

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NEW GED PROGRAM DIRECTOR Debbie McIntyre shows some of the new classroom and materials at Bainbridge College Continuing Education Division.

Debbie McIntyre, former director of  L.I.F.E. (Learning is for Everyone) and former chairman of the 14-county region Certified Literate Community Program, is enjoying a new challenging position.

On July 2, she became an employee of Bainbridge College and assumed the position of Director of Adult Education, now a program under the auspices of the college. Services were previously overseen by the Decatur County School System.

Along with the new job comes a new location for Adult Ed, in the Continuing Education Building on 315 S. Boulevard St., where McIntyre has an office, along with a computer lab, staff office and two classrooms for use of the program.

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McIntyre explained that other changes are coming to the GED programs, but stressed that even as they build a new program at Bainbridge College, the goal is to strengthen and continue to honor the strong tradition that adult education has enjoyed through the years.

The biggest change will come in January 2013, when all testing will be computer-based, except for special needs and incarcerated test takers. Students will register online and can receive help setting up an email address. When the student completes 40 hours of instruction and passes a practice test, then scholarships are available for the actual testing, the costs of which have risen from $19 to $32 per unit, and from $95 to $160 for the whole five units.

A new computer program called “My Foundation Lab” will allow students to practice their test readiness before actually taking the “real” test in each of the five academic courses. Traditionally, students did one paper test per month. Now, computer based testing will make testing available more frequently. It takes seven hours to complete the whole battery of tests.

They will also be able to do compass test tracking to determine the level of student readiness for entering college, identifying where remedial learning may be needed.

Use of this computer-aided testing will make it much easier for students to transition to a college, technical school or the workplace, McIntyre said. She added that Bainbridge College has transitional resources to work with students in a broader way, such as exploring the career fields for which they are most suited.

There is also now more emphasis on classroom instruction. For example, McIntyre said there are currently 40 students enrolled, and a part-time teacher began last week teaching math to at least 20 of them.

The four-county region includes learning sites in Early, Miller and Seminole counties, in addition to Decatur. Currently all students must come to Bainbridge College site for testing.

In her former positions, McIntyre did much of her work from her home on a part-time basis.

“I’ve been so happy to move all my work from the house and have a central office,” she said, adding, “I would like to say that my past career with CLCP and the relationships and connections I made there will help me be successful in what I do now.

“We hope to work with students in a more holistic way, helping them develop the skills they need to make them successful.”

She is excited about her new position and loves to tell incoming students that they will be the first GED graduates of Bainbridge College.

McIntyre said almost all of the GED programs in the state were already under the technical college systems, but now, the four-county GED at Bainbridge College is the first in the state to be under the auspices of a non-technical or two-year institution of the University System of Georgia.