No longer do residents down the corridor need to drive into Prescott Valley or Prescott to take classes toward obtaining a General Educational Development, or GED. Yavapai College has a "branch office" at Mayer High School and offers several types of GED programs.
For people in the more isolated pockets of Yavapai County, the college site at Mayer High School in Spring Valley can make the difference between attending classes or not.
"We're excited because this is halfway between Black Canyon City and Prescott Valley," said Cheryl Casey, GED coordinator.
Nine students showed up for the first day of classes in January; the room seats 12 with computers for all. Casey said more students might sign up for classes as some pass their tests and others begin their studies. Classes take place January 15 - May 2 from 8-11 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
People wanting to enter the program halfway through a course of study can do so through "managed enrollment" and work in the computer lab. A GED hybrid program also is available, with some lessons provided online and some in a face-to-face classroom. The latter helps with student retention, Casey said.
The Prep classes give instruction in all GED subjects, with emphasis on math basics, writing skills, reading, science and social studies; practice tests, and an overview of entrance requirements and financial aid options for Yavapai College programs.
The GED Learn Labs are self-paced and individualized, and include textbooks, software and tutoring. The Intensive Math Review is a short course that covers fundamentals such as factions, percents and pre-algebra.
GED Online offers students a chance to study at home under the guidance of an online instructor. Students meet face-to-face monthly and receive tutoring and practice testing.
Yavapai College has six GED teachers, with 230 students in the county.
The highest demand for classes comes from Prescott Valley residents. A person must be at least 16 years old and withdrawn from any kind of high school in order to take the test.
Students should be aware that the official GED test owner will be revamping the tests, and students must pass all five subject tests by Dec. 31, 2013, or they will have to start all over with the revised test. The testing also may cost more for students. The new 2014 test will be computer-based and given only at approved Test Centers.
The GED Testing Service provides some accommodations to individuals with disabilities after submitting the appropriate documentation.
Those accommodations may include an audio version of the test, a separate testing room, extra time, breaks, or presentation of the material in large print.