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Getting Started


Template for the Inquiry ProcessGED as Project is a learner-centered, problem solving educational experience that promotes analytical, creative and practical thinking as it integrates both content and skills. It recognizes the need for establishing background knowledge, linking learning to the experiences, personal growth and skills encountered in many different areas of our lives. The Learning Projects in each content area use inquiry and skill-based methods throughout.

Through this program, adult learners not only come to understand the scope and complexity of the GED exam, which is more involved than they anticipate, they also begin to develop the skills necessary to achieve academic success. The unifying thread, or project they undertake, is passing the GED.


Understanding and Applying

GED as Project will introduce instructional approaches, strategies and activities that integrate, not separate, the higher order thinking skills that transcend the five subject areas of the GED 2002, using inquiry based, problem centered projects derived directly from Official GED Practice Test items.

Throughout the test, workplace oriented documents and questions address life skills and problem solving. This means that preparation for the test must center on an understanding, application and analysis of the content material, not just knowing the pertinent facts. The instructional process utilized throughout is a five-step Inquiry Process: asking questions, investigating the problem, seeking to understand, sharing with others, and reflecting and evaluating. Each step is essential not only to successful test taking but also successful living.

Adults who have not graduated from high school may not be academically inclined, but they have often become strong practical or creative thinkers. Encouraging learners to use their creative and practical thinking abilities, the Successful Intelligence model espoused by Sternberg and Grigorenko (2001,) is one aspect of this approach; another is developing the skills of reading, writing and mathematical reasoning across the content areas.



Facilitated learning engages students, centering on their discovering answers for themselves, either individually or in groups. The facilitated classroom creates opportunities for critical thinking and evaluation, skills central to passing the GED 2002.

The facilitator will ensure the classroom environment is non-threatening. Students may need to be invited to take the risk of speaking up. Even the arrangement of the room can increase the effectiveness of group instruction.

A good facilitator develops skills in asking questions. Particularly useful are open-ended questions requiring more than a yes or no answer. Wide-ranging classroom discussion should allow for speculation and encourage many responses.

The inquiry process develops the learners' understanding, allowing them to take apart the problem, discover the information they will need and develop the skills from within the problem itself. Instruction will spiral back to build up fundamental knowledge and reinforce new learning. At times, the facilitator will recognize that direct instruction is necessary to provide the information needed to keep the process moving forward and will intervene.

Good facilitation, built on a solid process and effective professional judgment, creates synergy within the class. Read More About Facilitation >>


Learning Projects and the General Template

Project based learning recognizes the need for establishing background knowledge, linking learning to personal growth and applying knowledge and skills to different areas of our lives.

The Learning Project will focus on a larger issue that requires multiple Inquiry Activities to achieve. Each Inquiry Activity will pass through five phases:

Template for the Inquiry Process

These five phases are referred to throughout as the General Template. The Template for each content area will have specific applications to the subject matter.



Assessment is the "deliberate use of many methods to gather evidence to indicate that students are meeting standards" (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998.) This means the instruction is designed with the end-goal in mind, and projects and activities serve as assessments for the instructor.

Self assessments, such as learning portfolios or individual action plans, offer good insight into the students' progress. Instructors' observations, whether formal or informal, will give them the information they need about how well the students are progressing, or whether additional information or time is needed.

Most students will have been tested upon placement into GED preparation classes. The results of these standardized tests, along with item analyses or diagnostics, can be useful in planning instruction.

Most GED classes have a wide array of levels and different styles of learning. Group work and the focus on the processes of thinking and learning accommodate these differences, and can also prove effective for students with learning disabilities. Read More About Assessment >>


Classroom Management

As you implement GED as Project, you will find ways of managing your classroom to make learning in this student-centered approach easier. Many of these suggestions come from the Field Test instructors, and we expect to gather more as we hear from more instructors.

  • Arrange the classroom to facilitate group work (See Appendix 1)

  • Have a wide variety of resource information for research

  • Create a learning climate - asking why, finding threads through the content areas, developing Learning Portfolios

  • Use your favorite teaching resources and take advantage of new ones

  • Assess your participants on an ongoing basis

Read More About Classroom Management >>


Mrs. Harriman's class
Video Snapshot - Click to watch Demonstration Video #3




Located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded by the Office of Adult Education and Literacy, Virginia Department of Education, the Project was begun by Virginia's Workforce Improvement Network (WIN), a partnership between James Madison University and the Virginia Literacy Foundation. This final phase was developed by The Literacy Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Information Publisher: Workforce Improvement Network
Last Updated: January 5, 2010 | Copyright © 2004 VA Dept. of Ed. All rights reserved