Next Week in Cleveland: XPRIZE & CLE-BEE

Adult literacy providers and supporters in the Cleveland area have two exciting opportunities next week to network and learn:

$1 Million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition Info Session

Want to revolutionze adult literacy by testing out the newest, research-based adult literacy mobile apps? Willing to compete for a chance at $1 million by motivating the most adult learners to utilize mobile learning? Register for free lunch and more information at 1pm on September 12th at Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch.

XPRIZE representative Haneen Khalef will also be hosting information sessions in Columbus on September 10th and in Akron on September 14th.

Not in Ohio? Find out more about the Communities Competition here.

One Night Only: 3rd Annual CLE-BEE

Many years ago, Christine Lee trained me as a volunteer adult literacy tutor, opening my eyes to the depth of the issue and inspiring my future career path.

More recently, Christine continues to inspire awareness and involvement with the crazy, fun idea to host a corporate spelling bee fundraiser to benefit adult literacy.

The whole team at The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland has worked to make this fun idea a reality. On September 13th, CLE-BEE will celebrate its 3rd year with high energy, local celebrities… and of course some good food and drink.

Individual tickets are $30.

Hope to see you there!

Cyber Monday Deal: 40% off Keys to the 3 HSE Tests

Are in Ohio or another state moving to three High School Equivalency tests? Get a jump on the new content with this exclusive one-day offer:

40% off the online course “3 Keys to the HSE Tests.”

Use the coupon code: CYBER.

Learn about key differences between the tests, consider how they will impact your adult education classroom, and ask your questions or comment to share with other online participants.

This training is also available as a facilitated webinar, but space is limited. Contact Meagen at 216.973.4977 or to reserve your spot for 2018.

New Course: Keys to the 3 HSE Tests

In August 2017, Ohio Department of Education approved all three national exams as official assessments to earn a High School Equivalency Credential:

  • GED® Test
  • TASC Test &
  • HiSET® Exam

Save yourself from wasting time searching, and spend it getting hands-on with the best resources to get you started navigating all three HSE exams.


The Literacy Cooperative has generously sponsored a live training to help Cleveland-area educators learn about working in a multi-assessment environment, and become more familiar with the TASC and HiSET exams.

The workshop filled up quickly, and we have had interest from all over the state. To help spread this vital information, I developed an online version of the live workshop.

The video-based lessons are full of curated links to save you time and help you understand key differences in the exams.

In addition, you can still gain the value of networking by commenting on the lessons to share insights and resources.


I look forward to diving deeper with you into the three exams, and reflecting on what this means for us as adult educators. Hope to see you in Keys to the 3 HSE Tests!

GED® Test Prep Resources

Smiling girl in graduation cap
Graduation Girl by flickr user BdwayDiva1

Thanks for coming! I am Meagen Farrell, author of Teaching Adults: A GED® Test Resource Book avaiTeaching Adults GEDlable from New Readers Press, and previously National Teacher Trainer for GED Academy (among other products offered by Essential Education).

Looking to pass the GED® Test, or to help someone study?

You’ve come to the right place! Below you will find a collection of resources for anyone, anywhere to study for the GED® Test*. In addition, many states offer the HiSET Exam or the TASC Test to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma.

Warning: Many sites are free because of advertisements.  Don’t click on the ads!!!

Other sites give free trials to sell their paid services. Ask yourself: is it worth it to pay for this?

Check out my latest post with updated links:

Top 30 FREE Websites for GED® Test Prep and Workforce Development

Helpful Links

[Note: these links were good as of October 18, 2016. If you find any broken links, please comment or contact me to let me know. If you are a long-term follower, this post serves to archive the content on the previous page “GED Test Prep.”

I am moving on to become Director of Religious Education at a church in Northeast Ohio. Follow my blog for updates, teacher resources, and spiritual reflections.]

*GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED® Testing Service LLC under license. Any content on this website is not endorsed or approved by ACE or GED Testing Service.

COABE Presentations on the Repository!

Well, friends, I haven’t been posting on my blog this week because I wasScreenshot_2016-04-16-20-53-30 plugged in to the COABE app. I even made it to the leaderboard on the COABE App! I usually hovered around #15, but finally captured a screenshot at #18…barely hanging on to my spot in the top 20.

It provides the option to send posts to Twitter, so I recommend following the conference at the hashtag #COABE16, if you aren’t already. There seemed to be some folks on the app but not Twitter, and others posting to Twitter but not the app. Best to just be multi-channel and get a bit of everything!

Equally important as having a social media presence, I avoided producing a ton of copies by posting my presentations to the COABE Adult Education Repository. I am all about saving some trees! Here are the slides.

When Worlds Collide: Blended Learning for 2016

How can you prepare your students and program for computer literacy, critical thinking, and the high school equivalency (HSE) exams all at the same time? Do you feel you could get more value out of your investment in technology and computer-based curricula? Join two blended learning specialists from Essential Education for examples of how adult education programs have successfully used blended learning in their classrooms. We will use algebra lessons as a model to transform existing adult education classes into blended learning. Come to get your questions answered, share your successes, and make technology work for you.

Bigger, Better Writing: Using Rubrics & Samples to Improve Instruction

No matter what you are teaching, we have a writing sample for you! Learn how to use rubrics to help your GED, TASC, HiSET, ABE and ESOL students improve their writing skills and scores. Two members of the Essential Education design team will explain the process we use to develop our proprietary rubrics. Participants will break into small groups to practice using a rubric to grade writing samples. Everyone will leave with useful strategies and free teaching tools. Identify the skills your students need to become excellent writers and meet their educational goals!

5 Minute HSE Update: Major Test Changes

It’s 2016, and the world of adult education continues to fluctuate! Obtaining a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma is the goal of most adult education students. But what does it really take to earn that credential?

Starting in 2014, the GED Test changed significantly to align with the Common Core standards and skills of high school graduates. We now have two additional HSE exams–TASC and HiSET–which are changing each year to gradually become more computer-based and aligned to the Common Core standards.

So in five minutes or less, what are the key things you need to know about recent test changes as of January 2016?

HiSET Exam

I’ll start with HiSET because their content change is perhaps the most drastic. The HiSET Language Arts, Writing Essay is keeping its 6-point scoring, but changing the prompts and rubric. Test takers are now required to read TWO passages on a topic, and use evidence from both sources to create an argumentative essay.

With this change, all three HSE Tests now require that test takers correctly use evidence from a given passage to support an argument. Regardless of the test(s) available in your state, prospective test takers and adult educators need to focus on developing these skills.


This exam underwent two notable recent changes:

  1. In 2015, CTB (the company that produces TASC) switched hands from McGraw Hill to Data Recognition Company (DRG). The switch resulted in staff changes, contract changes at the state level, changes for testing centers…all things that impact where and when test takers can access the exam. As more states add multiple tests, this actually may result in more people taking the TASC test.
  2. In 2016, TASC introduced short answer items. The Language Arts, Writing Part 1 exam now includes short answer responses that ask the test taker to do one of two things:
    1. Combine two sentences into one new sentence.
    2. Write an appropriate concluding sentence for a paragraph.


GED Test

I saved the largest HSE Test for last because this is actually a recent announcement of a future change. Starting March 1, GED Testing Service is changing its cut scores. Depending on each state, this may result in 25,000-30,000 previous GED Test Takers who scored between 145-149 to earn their HSE diploma! Read full details at Education Week.

This graphic sums up the changes nicely:

GED Performance Levels


Missed COABE? Learn how to Crack the Code of Social Studies

Yesterday, I had the chance to repeat a shorter version of my COABE session on the GED Social Studies Extended Response as the monthly webinar for Tuesdays with Essential Education. And we recorded it this time!

In both sessions, I focused on enduring issues as a way to engage students in the Great Conversation. Enduring issues are questions that societies have to answer over and over again, and may be particular questions that are the focus of social discussion. Having a voice in that conversation is civic participation, which is one of the most important goals of our civics and social studies curricula.

You can watch the entire video (about 50 minutes). Here is my section of slides to view or download:

It’s Election Day in the USA! What Do You Need to Know to Vote? And Pass the Social Studies Test?

I just voted! Will you? As students and teachers, the candidates and issues on the ballot today impact YOU!

Want to vote, but not sure about all the candidates and issues on the ballot? Understanding how voting works is also important information on Social Studies High School Graduation or Equivalency tests (GED, TASC & HiSET).

How to Do Your Homework on Voting

I used the SamUSA Flag. Keep calm and voteple Ballot Lookup on the non-partisan website Ballotopedia. It provided information on the State and Federal level candidates.

For my local candidates and issues, I searched on Google for the name of my county and “board of elections.” My county board of elections provided a sample ballot that listed all the candidates and issues. My local newspaper had links to the campaign websites, along with more information on the issues and interviews with candidates.

In all cases, ask yourself: Do I think this person has the best solutions? Also ask if the person can be trusted to do what they say.

Quick Civics Lesson: What U.S. Citizens See on Their Ballots

  •  Executive candidates at the Federal, State, and Local levels.

These are positions like: School Board who runs education in your state; Governor who proposes the budget (including for schools!); Treasurer and Auditor, who handle taxpayer money; and Representatives and Senators who write laws in your State or U.S. Congress.

For incumbents – people currently in that job – consider what they have done. For candidates running for the job ask: What is their experience? What do they say they will do?

  •  Judges and Attorney General to serve your State or County.

If you’ve ever had to stand before a judge, you know how much power they can have.

But political party is not always important in a judge. Consider their experience as a judge or an attorney, what types of cases they have handled, and their attitude towards the people they will see in court.

  • Issues at the State or Local level.

Issues can be anything citizens think are important. Many issues are tax levies, particularly to support schools and libraries. Personally, I always vote in favor of levies for schools and libraries because that money supports many adult education programs!

Tell Me: What Are The Skills You Need To Be An Adult Education Instructor?

Ten years ago…

I started as a volunteer adult literacy tutor at a homeless shelter and outreach center. In six months, I helped a student change from calling herself stupid to picking up the community college brochure to look at classes. My Site Manager asked me to teach a class two evenings a week. I joined the ranks of the 77% of adult literacy instructors who teach part-time with little training.

Within a couple years I became a full-time Site Manager, learning most of my teaching skills from watching other volunteers and co-workers. Eager to serve my students better, I attended a national conference organized by ProLiteracy. The workshops gave me a new perspective, connected me to the latest research, and transformed my teaching.

It has been thrilling to give back to the adult literacy community as an author, consultant, and trainer over the past few years. I have seen instructor training change lives, classrooms, and programs.

Essential Education-Learning Made CertainThis month I started a new adventure creating Social Studies materials for Essential Education. Much to my joy, I also get to work on a team developing professional development materials for adult educators! And WE WANT YOUR INPUT!


What about you?

What did you wish you knew when you started as an instructor? What workshops would/do you provide for new instructors? What skills or training improved your teaching? What professional development topics do you think have the most impact?

 If you respond by Tuesday, August 26th, I will share your comments at our team meeting, but this is an ongoing process and your comments are welcome at any time.

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