TASC Test Center Spotlight: Orangeburg-Calhoun Adult Education

July 5, 2016 DRC Team

Orangeburg-Calhoun Adult Education

Are you ready to take the next step toward a better future by earning your high school equivalency (HSE)? Your local test center can offer you more support and resources than you might think. Whether it’s preparatory classes, training and skills development, or even scholarships to help cover the costs of the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™, you will benefit from taking advantage of everything your local test center has to offer.

Today we’re placing the test center spotlight on the Orangeburg-Calhoun Adult Education program in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Dr. Renee M. Ritter, Director, walks us through her center’s offerings and shares how they recently became the first program in the entire state to have a student pass the TASC test and achieve their HSE.

When did your test center start offering the TASC test?

We were officially able to offer the TASC test in March 2016, but we did not administer our first official test until April 2016. Two students have tested so far.

How would you describe your test center’s transition to offering the TASC test?

Overall, it turned out to be a smooth process. Once we got the students to trust the new test, we found they trusted us enough to say, “Sure, I’ll give the TASC test a try.” Everything went just like clockwork—it was just a matter of walking students through the test and getting it done. We chose to administer the TASC test one subject area at a time, rather than trying to do it all in one swoop. We spread it out over a two-week period and did one subject per day. This gave us the time we needed to make sure we were comfortable with administering the test, including locating the passwords and everything needed to begin testing.

What successes have you seen as a result of offering the TASC test?

One of our first student testers completed and passed every subject of the TASC test. She received a plaque for being the first completer in our program, as well as the first student in the State of South Carolina to pass the TASC test!

How is the TASC test administered at your test center?

Our initial administration of the TASC test was online. We’re able to offer both paper-and-pencil and online formats, but our first two students were comfortable taking the test on a computer so we used the online version for both of them.

Online testing is very prevalent in our test center. We are a nationally certified test center for ACT® testing and various NCCER certifications, as well as other exams. Online testing is available any time the testing center is open. We’re able to offer it every day.

What is the importance of having a paper-and-pencil option for testing, as well as having an online option?

I think we’ll have an increased number of completers with offering the online option. The paper/pencil version will be a valuable option for those persons who are still apprehensive about testing on a computer. We’re prepared to support either option based on the student’s request.

How does your test center help test takers prepare for the TASC test?

We offer classes through our adult education program to help students prepare for the TASC test in all subject areas. There are different levels of classes based on the student’s ability. We have remedial classes for those who really need to work on their skills. Regular-level classes are available for those who just have minimal things to catch up on. We also have a fast-track advanced class where we concentrate on last-minute testing skills and focus on areas that have been shown to be problematic for students. The fast-track class gives them a quick review in an effort to pass the TASC test.

Do you use the TABE in conjunction with the TASC test? If so, what do you feel is the purpose and benefit in using TABE and the TASC test together?

We use TABE® (Tests of Adult Basic Education) to help us determine when a student is ready to move to the TASC test.

What are you most passionate about at your test center?

Our primary goal is to remove as many barriers as we can to help as many people as we can move forward. We are constantly looking at ways to help remove the barrier as to why someone did not finish high school, so that we can make sure they are afforded every opportunity to keep moving forward with their goals. We do that through the training classes we offer, as well as providing scholarships to cover the cost of their testing fees. If our students come in and are willing to “jump through some hoops”—attend and participate in classes, show educational gains on their TABE testing, score well on the TASC Test Readiness Assessment (practice test), and take and complete the WorkKeys® with at least a silver certificate—then we’ll pay for their TASC testing fees.

What is the importance of affordable pricing for test takers?

Affordable pricing is very important. I’m grateful that we’re able to test one subject at a time instead of requiring students to cover the cost of all of the subject areas up front. A lot of students feel comfortable working on one or two subject areas, taking that portion, passing it, and then coming back and concentrating on the others as opposed to trying to do it all at one time. Making it affordable and being able to complete one subject at a time has been very beneficial.

Any additional comments, insights, or comments of inspiration you’d like to add as it pertains to aspiring HSE candidates with the TASC test?

We’re all excited about it and we’ve already started identifying additional students to encourage to take and complete the TASC test.

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