Posted by Maya Atchan on April 8th, 2019
High School Equivalency exams have been around since the World War II era, originally designed for soldiers to receive their high school diploma when not being able to finish school. Over time, this test has evolved and continues to adapt to the changing needs of the modern world. New alternative high school equivalency exams continue to require students to achieve in math, science, reading and writing skills. The tests also now can be completed online. All these changes create challenges for teachers to make sure students are best prepared. There are methods and tactics educators can employ to meet these new challenges.
The following steps are essential to preparing students for high school equivalency exams in this ever changing landscape:
USE ONLINE TEST PREP TOOLS
As technology continues to evolve as essential learning tools for elementary through high school students, practice using online programs becomes crucial. Learning online allows for instant feedback and analysis on areas students need more work. By using online prep tools, teachers can quickly assess what students need more support in as well as give them the practice of taking online exams so they are ready for test day.
ADMINISTER PRACTICE ASSIGNMENTS
Having students sit through actual exams is one of the best forms of practice. By creating the same testing atmosphere, students are ready for the actual test day. They also can show their areas of strengths and weaknesses to dictate what further assignments and lessons they need to better their chances of success on the actual test.
PRACTICE USING TECHNOLOGY
Whether students are taking the exam on a computer or entering the modern workforce, becoming savvy and comfortable using technology is crucial for success. When preparing for the exam, having students use learning apps and web-based generated assignment programs, is all part of the process of becoming comfortable with technology and being ready to execute to their highest potential.
MAKE LEARNING RELEVANT
Adult learning educators face specific challenges that have to do with their students educational background, the stress they face returning to the classroom, and the reality that they are likely balancing many adult responsibilities beyond their time to learn. This means making the content they are learning as relevant to their lives as possible, so they can quickly engage and see the benefits of their efforts. Tie learning objectives to real life, focus in on each student’s strengths and particular learning abilities, and be supportive of them when they require extra assistance. These steps will help them engage and feel they are making the most of their opportunity to learn.
TEACH READING AND WRITING STRATEGIES
The crux of succeeding in any learning environment starts at the foundation of strong reading and writing skills. Making sure students are taught strategies to strengthen this core will help them every step of the way. Teaching students to not only read but to do the pre-reading work to discover context, to ask active questions as they read, take notes and use visual diagrams to collect the information they are taking in, will help students read more actively. For writing, emphasize each of the steps from pre-writing, writing, revising and editing, and publishing to grow confident in each step of the process. These skills will embolden them to reach the levels of success they are striving towards.
MOTIVATE STUDENTS TO SET GOALS
It’s crucial to remember your goals as an adult education instructor. Regardless of what’s on the test or how the test is administered, you want your students to succeed. Although technology and curriculum continue to evolve, your students haven’t changed that much over the past decade. They are trying to balance their life while trying to create a better future. As an educator, you have the ability to be a strong, positive influence in their lives. Keeping a positive attitude will put your students at ease and allow them to focus on the road to high school equivalency success. Show them how to set goals and the steps needed to reach them.