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Illinois plans to offer high school equivalency alternatives

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Community College Board is planning to roll out several alternative ways for people to earn their high school equivalency certificate, other than passing a test.

The board plans to offer other methods by the fall of 2018. Board members hope the change helps get more people into the workforce pipeline, the State Journal-Register reported.

About 1.2 million people in Illinois don’t have a high school equivalency certificate, also called a GED, according to Jennifer Foster, the board’s deputy director for adult education and workforce.

The GED is the most popular test taken to earn the certificate. But the number of people taking the exam in Illinois has fallen over the last four years as the test grew more rigorous, transitioned to an online format and became more expensive.

Jeff Vose, regional superintendent of Sangamon and Menard counties, said he wants to see more details about the program but generally supports alternative credentialing methods.

“We don’t want to see people fall off and not get their education,” he said.

One of the more significant changes will be to help people who are only a few credit hours away from graduating high school. Those people could pass a course at a community college or complete a credit-recovery program instead of trying to pass the four sections of the GED, Foster said.

Foster hopes the alternative credentialing methods also will help people who might not be good test-takers potentially find work.

“We are going to need a lot of workers to fill the jobs of the future,” she said. “We need to get more people in the door so they can get into training programs.”

–Associated Press

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