Purgatory Correctional Facility and Southwest High School have partnered to provide the latest advancement in GED testing. Last month, Purgatory was the first correctional facility in Utah to administer the GED test as a computer based test. Gone are the days of paper and pencil.
In July of 2012, the state of Utah began to convert all of the GED Testing Centers from the paper version of the test to the new computer based testing. This provided an extra challenge for the majority of correctional facilities due to the lack of internet connectivity. As SWHS assessed the computers in the classroom for future GED testing, they realized that they were outdated, and the monitors were too small to administer the new test form. SWHS director Nelda Kissinger, was contacted by the Utah State Adult Education program and was given the opportunity to write a supplemental grant for funds to replace the computers at Purgatory. The grant was awarded and they were able to to purchase 14 new computers and monitors as well as a laptop computer to administer the GED.
Over a period of 5 months, SWHS met with programming staff at PCF, the Director of the DSU Testing Center, and with Mike Wynn, who provides the technical support for the jail through the Washington County School District. Policies and procedures were developed through mutual agreement and under the guidance of USOE Adult Education. Because of this great cooperative effort, the first computer based GED Tests in a correctional facility in Utah were administered to 6 inmates on May 16, 2013. All the entities involved agree, it was an honor to receive the funds for new computers and to be the first corrections program in the state to offer computer based testing for the GED. Nelda Kissinger wanted to express her deep appreciation and support by the staff at PCF, USOE Adult Education, DSU Testing Center, and WCSD Technology Dept. She went on to say, “this great accomplishment was truly a group effort.”
So far this year, Southwest Adult High School has served 147 students. Of those, 8 have earned diplomas, 18 have passed the GED, and 126 level academic gains have been made after post testing. It is projected about 15 more students will complete their GED before June 31st, the end of the school year.
The Programming branch would like to express gratitude for the great working relationship they share with SWHS and the service they collectively bring to the inmates of Purgatory.