A public-private partnership is making it easier for Iowans without a high school diploma to prepare for the General Educational Development (G.E.D.) Tests .
First Lady Mari Culver introduced the new program – which will allow Mediacom digital cable customers to view "on demand" educational programming that will help them study for the tests.
Culver says there are roughly 290,000 adult Iowans that do not have a high school diploma. "The percentage of adult Iowans without a high school diploma is somewhere between 13 and 15 percent," Culver said. "We need to do all we can as a state to insure that everyone who is eligible for the G.E.D. has the opportunity to earn it." There are five G.E.D. Tests, covering the subjects of math, social studies, reading and writing. The test preparation series was developed for Mediacom’s On Demand service by Iowa Public Television.
Iowa Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey hopes it will encourage more people to pursue a high school equivalency diploma.
She says Iowans that take the tests, on average, are 6 to 7 years removed from high school. Transportation and child care needs are just two of the hurdles facing many individuals that want to earn a G.E.D.
Jeffrey says the G.E.D. On Demand program will provide Iowans with easier access to study materials.
In addition, participants will have access to educators from Iowa’s 15 community colleges. "They will help those individuals set goals, make sure their homework is finished and they will also sort of assist them in planning and making sure they’re ready to take the test," Jeffrey said. Iowa leads the country in the percentage of residents that successfully complete and pass the G.E.D. exams.
Mediacom reports its digital video services are available in nearly 325 Iowa communities. Customers who do not subscribe to the digital service will be given a discount to lease the equipment if they verify their participation in the G.E.D.