Multiple Choice

One in ten Nebraska adults does not have a High School Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

Startling, isn’t it?

In our evolving, knowledge-based, technology-driving economy, the lack of basic skills is a real barrier – not only for workers in need of jobs that pay family supporting wages, but also for employers in need of skilled workers. In spite of this education gap Nebraska ranks 43rd in the nation for our investment in Adult Basic Education programs.

These statistics made me curious to see what the test might be like. Just what does it take for ABE programs to build up an adult learner’s knowledge to a level high enough to pass the GED? So, I took a look at a practice test. Here is a sample question from the American Council on Education:

1. Viscosity is a measure of the internal resistance of a fluid to flow. For example, motor oil is more viscous than water. The viscosity of a fluid will change with temperature. The graph below illustrates how the viscosity of oil changes with temperature.

Under which situation will the viscosity of the oil increase?
A. As the temperature decreases
B. When mixed with water
C. As the volume decrease
D. As its flow increase
E. If its resistance stabilizes

The test is more difficult than I realized – did you know the definition of the word viscosity? Really, this test is designed to cover four years worth of learning, and is updated regularly to reflect new learning in high schools. It can, in fact, be a real challenge.

Clearly, Nebraska has a significant population of workers in need of new opportunities to gain skills and education. Our state’s ABE programs deserve new attention and new support to meet those needs and build up our state’s workforce. To learn more about the situation in Nebraska, check out Chapter 2 of our “Building the Good Life” report.

Nebraska Appleseed will continue to advocate for new opportunities for adults to gain skills and education, particularly through Adult Basic Education programs, in order to give families new opportunities to learn and grow in our state. While choices about state investments always seem to be a “multiple choice” test where decision makers must balance competing priorities, it still seems to me that investing in Adult Basic Education programs is the right answer, not only for families, but for our state economy as a whole.

P.S. The answer to the question above is (A) as the temperature decreases.

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