Skagway School, in conjunction with the Skagway Library and the Skagway Traditional Council, can now administer the General Education Development test, or GED, and also has materials to help students prepare for it.
With the help of teacher Courtney Mason, the school became a certified Pearson Vue test site this year, making the school eligible to administer a variety of tests, including the GED.
Skagway School Superintendent Josh Coughran said while the school has had the ability to offer the test all year, they haven’t had the capability to provide any instruction or comprehensive services. But with the help of the library and traditional council, students now have a variety of resources before them.
Librarian Julene Brown said those interested in taking the test must first register with The Learning Connection, an educational resource center based in Juneau. Upon signing up, they will be added into a state database.
Students are then required to take two pre-tests in an effort to determine which areas they need to focus on the most.
Brown said the prep time depends on the student.
“Some students can turn around and take the GED test right away,” she said, adding that students can set their own pace throughout the process.
Along with prep materials, the library and traditional council are asking that volunteers make themselves available.
The need for a GED testing site became apparent after several people asked if the test was available in Skagway. Until now, the closest site was in Juneau.
Skagway Traditional Council Tribal Administrator Sara Kinjo-Hischer said after seeing the need in the community, she felt the council should use some funds to help tribal members.
“If it’s a tribal member, we can provide funds to help find someone to tutor you,” she said. If not a tribal member, Hischer said she would still be willing to help organize sessions.
But test takers are not limited to the library or traditional council for test prep materials. They can also look to the Statewide Library Electronic Doorway, or SLED.
Via SLED, residents of Alaska are offered materials through the Testing and Education Reference Center free of charge. Brown said the site offers national standardized test prep material, all of which are free as long as accessed from a computer in Alaska.
The nationally recognized test is comprised of four different tests, each covering a different topic – math, science, social studies and reasoning through language arts, ranging between 90 and 150 minutes in length.
Each test is taken online and costs $30.
Though the school has yet to administer any GED tests, Coughran said that with the new comprehensive approach, he hopes students will feel more comfortable and confident throughout the process.