Diego Trujillo

New testing center opens at UNM-Taos

By Bill Knief

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During the groundbreaking ceremony October 2nd for the Student Success Center addition to Padre Martinez Hall on Klauer Campus, the college also held a ribbon cutting for the new Pearson Vue Testing Center.

Now that it is up to speed, I asked Student Success Manager Diego Trujillo for an update as to the purpose of the center and how it can help students gain their high school equivalency and potentially transition to college level education. Trujillo is a busy man, overseeing as he does the CASA tutoring program, ADA accessibility services, Compass placement testing and the Writing Studio. In addition, he is working on completing a doctorate program.

The big change,” Trujillo explained, “is that we have gone from the pencil and paper test to a computer-based assessment exam. In the past, students had to go out to the campus to register, and then submit payment. Now that can all be done online from any computer with internet access.

Students will go online to the website www.GED.com and create a user name and password. Then they’ll look for appropriate test dates, and select the actual assessment they are needing to complete. When they submit payment online it signs them up for the computer-based assessment. If candidates have any questions about the process, they can call me at 575 737-3695, email me at diegotrujillo@unm.edu or come by the Center for Academic Success and Achievement, or CASA. It’s in the portable building between Fred Peralta Hall and the Career Technical Building.”

The assessment is the final GED exam. It’s the credential that is the equivalent to a high school diploma, and Trujillo recommends that students strongly consider signing up for preparatory classes before attempting the test. Judy Hofer, director of the Adult Learning Center at UNM-Taos, emphatically agrees.

The new GED exam is set at a much higher standard,” Hofer said. “The bar has been raised in all four subject areas, and I highly recommend that before you take the exam you come to an adult education course such as ours to see where you stand. Our services are free, and classes have fewer than 15 students, so there’s a lot of one-on-one attention and a lot of care. Ours is still one of the highest performing programs in the state, so if you are ready, we have the skills to get you there.”

You can contact the Adult Learning Center at 575 737-3730 or by email at adultlearningcenter@unm.edu.

The new assessment has four areas,” Trujillo explained, “reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, social studies and science. The cost per assessment is $30 per area, or a total of $120 for all four. Some students choose to take them one at a time and see how they do. That way it’s not such a heavy load, and you only pay for the part you are taking, so the cost is spread out. If a student does not pass one of the four areas, they are allowed to retake that module.

The CASA Tutoring Center on campus is the only place we can administer these tests. It’s a very professional yet welcoming and comfortable room. We try to be sure students are at ease before they start. It is new ground for UNM-Taos in terms of proctoring a computer-based test that will afford our community a bit more flexibility, rather than having to go to Espanola, Santa Fe, Albuquerque or southern Colorado. Before our approval, that’s what some folks have had to do.”

The computer-based assessment for the 2014 GED is based on national common core standards, and it can determine a student’s next step, whether that’s in the direction of training for a better job, a college certificate or degree program, or vocational training.

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