GED Test Accommodations for Those with Disabilities
by Marge Mechlenburg, 
ABE/GED Instructor at Stairways Behavioral Health

    On Friday, November 30th, Dr. Richard Cooper held a workshop at Stairways Behavioral Health on the topic of accommodations that can be made for GED students with disabilities.  Such disabilities include physical handicaps, mental disabilities, LD, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  The request forms for these accommodations - including the 8 page L-15 form for LD or ADD - were distributed to workshop attendees; others may obtain them by calling their local testing center.  Information about these forms and accommodations may also be found at www.gedtest.org.

    Participants in the workshop learned that 40% of students with disabilities do not complete high school.  Yet, only .03% of people who take the GED tests get accommodations.

    Because the new GED will emphasize higher level thinking skills, which will make passing the test even more challenging, securing accommodations for students will be more necessary than in the past.  Some of the test accommodations available include: 
        +     Extra time
        +     Audio-taped version
        +     Braille or large-print edition
        +     Scribes
        +     Sign Language
        +     Interpreters

    Dr. Cooper recommends beginning the form completion process when a student is first enrolled in the GED program because the disability has to be documented, and this can be a a lengthy process.

    In order to prepare LD students for the new GED, Dr. Cooper recommends focusing on vocabulary building.  Word webs and word nets are two suggested techniques.  The new GED test will also emphasize real life experiences.  Students will need to know about driver's licenses, voter registration cards, insurance certificates, utility bills, etc.  People with learning differences often have limited life  experiences because they are afraid to take risks.  They will need to get these experiences, or they will be at a disadvantage in the new test.

    For the new writing test, have students practice putting ideas into order or sequence.  Work a great deal on verb tense.  The letter "s" often indicates present tense, but it is also used to show plural, possessive, or is used with apostrophes.  Have students bookmark words that end in "s" and have them identify what each "s" signifies.

In math, have students create their own word problems.  Make the number axis concrete by relating it to the cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west.  Be aware that a % sign usually means "on sale" to those with learning differences; they have no conception of a percentage rate.  Make sure to review how to enter answers on the grid on the new math answer sheet.

    If you would like to contact Dr. Cooper with questions, he can be reached at 800-869-8336.  His web site is at www.learningdifferences.com.

from NWPDC:PDC News - Winter 2002