Advanced ABE Intensive Course

The Adult Education Division of College of Lake County (CLC) offers a GED Next Steps transition program. The program found that compared to the students who tested into Next Steps from the community, the students in the intermediate-advanced ABE classes did not have the study habits, test taking, writing, vocabulary and math skills needed to benefit from and succeed in this intensive GED course or successfully pass the GED test after enrolling in the non-intensive GED class.

In response, CLC designed an Advanced ABE Intensive course that provides twice the instructional intensity of the regular ABE class (10-12 hours versus 6 hours per week). The cohort-based class is 16 weeks long and the goal is to develop the skills and confidence to enter the Next Steps program, complete their GED, and ultimately place into college-level courses (and thus bypass developmental education) in the program of their choice.

The first four weeks of the course focuses on study skills, goal setting, and college knowledge, such as financial aid counseling, and college success skills and understanding what is required for college success.

The reading, writing, and math teachers of this course work as a team and plan the course based on the STAR Reading assessment, TABE math test scores, and evaluations of writing samples of the cohort members. Because there are more instructional hours, the course is divided into blocks of time by subject matter, which aids teacher syllabus planning and coordination. Students have appreciated being able to focus on each subject separately and as a result of student feedback, retention, and progress, all of the ABE and GED classes will be designed with discrete subject modules and instructional time will increase from six hours per week to eight.

The retention rates for the Advanced ABE Intensive class have averaged 85% compared to 55-65% retention in the regular classes, in the three years that the class has been running. An average of 50% of the cohort members continue to the Next Steps class.

Download: Syllabus 1 [Word], Syllabus 2 [Word], Graphic Organizers [Word], Note-Taking Tips [Word], Reading Strategies Chart [Word]

Mary Lynn Carver, ABE/GED Reading Faculty
College of Lake County, Adult Education Division
Grayslake, IL