Maricopa County Community Colleges removing barriers for GED students

Maricopa County Community College District is removing barriers for students who earn a high score on their GED test and plan to pursue a postsecondary education.  

Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) offers the College Ready program, which allows General Education Development (GED) students who receive a score of 165 or higher in a GED test subject area to bypass a placement test or remedial coursework.

In addition to Arizona Civics, the GED test subjects are science, social studies, reasoning through language arts and mathematical reasoning.

“If they score 165 or higher in any of these four subject areas, then they demonstrate that they are ready,” said Barbara Khalsa, Rio Salado College interim dean of instruction and community development.

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa County Community Colleges.

She explained that the students can then be placed directly into a MCCCD course, “without the need to take a college placement test or complete any developmental coursework, so that’s a big plus.”

Its College Ready + Credit offering allows GED students who score 175 or higher to earn college credit for courses that relate to the GED test subject areas.

“For instance, if they score 175 or higher in reasoning through language arts- which is one of the GED test subject areas- they can be awarded a three-credit humanities elective,” Khalsa said.

She explained that the students would typically demonstrate their proficiency through a placement test or remedial coursework. But, the GED score of 175 or higher allows the students to prove their proficiency.

MCCCD’s College Ready and College Ready + Coursework plan is currently available to students and removes barriers as they take steps toward their education and career goals.

“Students just save time and money because they are able to immediately enroll in college credit courses that put them on their certificate or degree pathway,” Khalsa said.

Former GED students who attend a Maricopa Community College will have access to tools and resources that help prepare them for their next steps.

“The academic advisor is the front-line welcoming committee who welcomes them to the whole suite of student services available at the Maricopa Community Colleges. This includes career counseling, financial aid, scholarships, tutoring, internships,” Khalsa said.

Rio Salado College provides GED classes in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education. Students who are taking GED classes at Rio Salado and have not yet enrolled in college classes can also utilize resources the school offers.

“We offer integrated education training as part of the GED program so not only are college and career ready concepts embedded in the day to day career curriculum, beyond that they have an opportunity to take part in programs- some of which provide college credits in a variety of different career sectors,” Khalsa said.

MCCCD’s drive to support students who receive high scores on their GED test promotes Achieve60AZ’s goal to see 60 percent of Arizona adults aged 25 to 64 with a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030.

“From an Achieve60AZ perspective, one of the things that we advocate for is to acknowledge learning at all points however it happens,” said Rachel Yanof, Achieve60AZ executive director.  “We want to encourage and applaud those who are acknowledging that students will be more excited to pursue postsecondary education when they get credit for the learning that they already have.”

Sierra Ciaramella

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