Posted by Christy Williams on February 25th, 2016
The High School Equivalency (HSE) tests evaluate grammar skills through multiple choice and essay formats. Students should be able to identify and correct grammatical errors as well as compose grammatically correct writings. As you work with your students you will likely face challenges including English as a Second Language (ESL) difficulties, poor speaking habits, texting vs. writing correctly and changing grammar rules.
Learning a new language can be a challenge for anyone. As the standard English language has a number of words, several verb conjugation rules, and other sometimes complex concepts, the rules for grammar can be a lot to remember and correctly apply. ESL students may need additional support, especially if English is not spoken in the home or throughout their daily activities.
Poor Speaking Habits
If students have poor speaking habits that have not been corrected, they may not recognize that their practices are incorrect. Adult learners with poor speaking habits face the additional challenge of reversing behavior that has been with them for their entire lives. Work with students to ensure that the use of good speaking habits are reinforced within the classroom.
Texting vs. Writing
Texting has become a widely accepted way of communication with its own short-hand language. As students are more accustomed to texting, it may be difficult to remember to use full words in their formal writing. The usage of short-hand words could also lead to a decline in proper spelling. Students should be reminded of the rules for formal writing and how it differs from sending a text.
Changing Grammar Rules
Over the years a few grammar rules have changed. Adult students have learned rules as children that may no longer be conventional practice. It is necessary for teachers to be aware of the changes and teach the expected rules for successful completion of HSE exams.
While there are a number of challenges with teaching grammar, regular practice for your students can help mitigate the complications. Providing resources for your students to practice finding and correcting grammatical errors before test day will sharpen their skills. A few resources include:
- Capital Community College Foundation delivers a compilation of quizzes for grammar practice. The quizzes are categorized by specific concept, allowing students to target areas where they may need additional practice. After the practice quizzes are taken, students have an opportunity to see the correct answers and explanations.
- Grammar Worksheets shares links to printable worksheets for student practice. These can be used as in-class practice or for students to take home.
- Quill.org offers an opportunity for students to practice their grammar skills in an interactive format. As questions are answered, students have the option to hide or show hints for assistance. The program requires typed responses and provides immediate feedback after each question.
- Test Prep Preview provides online practice questions for grammar skills. The questions are followed by the correct answers and explanations.
- Test Prep Skills offers a YouTube Channel containing GED® test preparation videos. The grammar videos, like the Grammar Practice video, provide guided practice for error correction. Other videos in the collection include “Grammar Problems,” “Sentence Correction,” and “Subject Verb Agreement.”
The old adage says “practice makes perfect.” Providing students with access to daily practice, including sharing opportunities for home practice, will allow them to perfect their grammar skills. A combination of resources can be used to deliver maximum exposure. Worksheets, websites, slideshows and interactive programs are effective tools to assist your learners.