The Story of the 2016 GED Testing Service Conference

[Looking for my series on the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland? It continues later this week, once I’ve caught up after traveling]

Couldn’t make it to Alexandria, Virginia last week? Not to fear! I took my notes on Twitter and so did a bunch of other folks using the hashtags #GEDTS16 and #LearnLeadInspire.

Not on Twitter? Not to fear! I consolidated the tweets into a Story, so you can get the highlights, videos, and tips right here!

The theme was well chosen, because we certainly left inspired! Motivational speaker Mark Anthony Garrett, also a GED graduate, reminded us of the importance of teaching our students that they can be significant. Watch this and grab a tissue!

I was also on the edge of my seat during the GED Awards, particularly the student stories. GEDWorks also had some stories to tell, like Sara, a Taco Bell employee and GED graduate:

Equally important, we learned critical tips in the sessions. For the first time, frontline educators were invited to the conference, and showed up in droves! With the implementation of WIOA legislation, career pathways were a hot topic.

The biggest throw down was definitely Friday morning with the unveiling of GEDWorks. There have been rumors and headlines around this new partnership between GED Testing Service and employers like WalMart, but we got the full outline for the first time. Nick Laul called it a “game changer initiative.” While it is still getting on its feet, it seems to have a ton of potential.

The biggest benefit for employers and test takers is the connection between work and education. We know that outcomes increase when employment and literacy go hand-in-hand, when students have a clear goal and chance for advancement through training. That’s good for everyone!

A huge thing GEDWorks will do for the GED Testing Service is allow participants to take the GED Test even in states that do not issue a credential for the exam. In states where there are multiple test options, it will provide an incentive for participants to choose the GED exam. It’s easy to see why GEDTS wants to invest in these partnerships in a competitive assessment environment.

The best part of conferences for me are the connections and in-between conversations. In particular, I met and reconnected with lots of DC-area educators including Academy of Hope, international partners who will be updating from the 2002 series to the 2014 series soon, and also the GED Testing Service legal team, who did not consent to have their pictures on social media!

Friends, for you: “Raise a glass to [education] / Something they can never take away / No matter what they tell you. / Raise a glass to the 4 [hundred] of us. / [Next year] they’ll be more of us. / Telling the story of tonight.”

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