Making a Difference:
GED Connection

Everybody learns differently.... The KET materials address all learning styles.

Betty Myrick

McCracken County Adult Education

Paducah adult educator Stephanie Scheer is a cheerleader. And a bit of a mother hen. And above all, she’s full of admiration for the students who’ve faced their fears and made the decision to better their lives by pursuing a GED.

“I feel like I’m all of their mothers, I really do,” said Scheer, who teaches reading and language arts in the McCracken County Adult Education/GED Program, which is tucked away in the friendly classrooms and spacious hallways at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

“You just take them all under your wing,” she continued. “You feel like a proud parent when they walk across that GED graduation floor and get their diploma.”

Stephanie Scheer One of the feathers in that wing is KET’s GED Connection series, which McCracken County and most other adult education centers in the state use to help students prepare for the GED exam. The materials are also available to individuals for home study, along with accompanying support from KET’s GED student support center. To date, more than 20,000 Kentuckians have used KET materials to get their GEDs.

“My students surpass even a lot of my goals,” said Scheer. “I’m just trying to get them to progress to the next level in the tapes, just to progress. And surprisingly, many go on to the Official Practice Test with the KET books and videos.”

KET’s GED Connection series contains 39 half-hour videos, three workbooks covering the five subject areas included on the test, and activities and practice tests for students online. It’s just one of an array of educational series and services KET provides to adult learners. Others include Pre-GED Connection; Workplace Essential Skills, which provides skills and advice for finding, getting, and keeping a job; and Crossroads Café, a life-skills series for adults for whom English is a second language.

The curriculum offered by GED Connection is adaptable, too, says Betty Myrick, executive director of the McCracken County adult education program.

“KET is our main source for curriculum materials in our program,” she said. “For new instructors, it is easy to use because the lesson plans are already in place.

“Plus everybody learns differently. Some people are auditory learners, some people are visual, some prefer hands-on—what we call kinesthetic learners. The KET materials address all learning styles.”

This divergence of learning styles is particularly important for the adult student, Scheer points out.

“For people who don’t have a high school diploma, there is a huge array of reasons why they didn’t finish,” she notes. “It could be learning style—your traditional high school is not for everyone. You could be the smartest kid, but it just isn’t for you. And besides, my GED students range from 17 years old to my 88-year-old.”

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One of the ways in which GED Connection’s adaptability shines, the educators say, is its usefulness in the GED preparation “fast track” program: Students who are nearly ready to take the GED exam can use the series to brush up on skills. It’s also used by some students who are ready to continue on to higher education, but need some remedial skills. By gaining the skills and education they need through the KET materials, they can bypass tuition-associated developmental education classes offered at the postsecondary level.

Scheer is able to use GED Connection to tailor her instruction. Often, with her motivated classes, just a snippet of a lesson might be needed—for example, a lesson on poetry.

“You can pick out a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, for example,” she said. “It’s absolutely a way we are able to use the KET materials to fit our needs.”

Scheer, ever the cheerleader, finds it all worthwhile when the time comes for students to take the test.

“You’re with them from the get-go. You’re teaching them. You’re tutoring them. You’re really into it with them. And every time they have a success, they come to you and they are so proud. You’re sometimes the first person that they tell,” she said.

“At GED graduation, you’re sitting there just like a proud peacock because you have told them, ‘Anyone can get a high school diploma.’ But for you to come back, whatever happened that caused you to leave high school—it takes courage, bravery, and support.”