Adult basic education offered at Fox Valley
Sally Thiede is the Adult Basic Education instructor at the Chilton Center of Fox Valley Technical College.

For adults who have always wished they had gotten their high school diplomas, Fox Valley Technical College’s Chilton Center campus (FVTC-Chilton Center) can provide the path to success.

One-on-one instruction is offered for students in a wide range of ages and abilities. No matter why or when our students’ education was interrupted, they are welcome to continue learning at the Chilton Center.

In order to get a high school equivalency diploma (GED or HSED), adult students (18-1/2 and older) must go through the technical college system to register and receive an educational assessment, known as TABE (Tests of Adult Basic Education). This step is important for students because it indicates their proficiency, is used to measure their improvement and identifies areas where they need additional study. TABE also determines the program’s effectiveness and provides statistics that ensure funding to keep the adult education program tuition-free for students.

The TABE assessment is in two parts. Locator Tests cover Reading, Mathematics, and Language—all three areas can be completed in about 35 minutes. Locator Test results will determine the appropriate level of TABE test the student will take. The TABE test is the next step, and covers Reading, Math Computation, Math Applied, and Language—25 questions in each section.

Study at center, home, or online

From there, students can study with an instructor in a classroom setting at the Chilton Center, or at home with an instructor’s guidance, or completely online. Students who demonstrate an advanced level through the TABE can begin preparing to take their GED (General Education Diploma) tests. The instructor will help students identify their educational weaknesses and begin their test preparation in those areas.

When students are ready to test for their GED, the tests must be taken at the Chilton Center or at another technical college location. Four academic areas are tested—Reading/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math. Although there are no fees for the program, GED testing costs $33.75 per test. Unfortunately, there are many “completely online GED” scams advertised on the internet. Prospective students should be aware that these claims are false—the only true path to a GED is through the Technical College System. The Chilton Center offers GED testing every month.

Students in the HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma) program will work on reading, writing, communication, math, science, and social studies, either in a classroom setting or independently in a lab setting. They will work through a book in each of these subjects matched to their level of ability. HSED students do not have to take tests. They also take Health, Civics, and Employability skills classes.

What times are classes offered in Chilton?

The ABE Lab hours at the Chilton

Center are Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a. m. to noon, and also Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p. m. Students can arrange their hours to fit around their work schedules or family obligations. ABE students do not feel singled out or self-conscious about coming here to the Chilton Center, because students of all ages are coming and going during the center’s open hours for a variety of classes besides our ABE program.

How long will it take to complete a GED or HSED?

ABE is a self-paced program—students work at their own pace. Each student and each course is unique, but the instructor can often estimate when the student will be finished. It is up to the student to put in the necessary time and effort to complete the assigned work.

About our instructor

Sally Thiede is the Adult Basic Education instructor at the Chilton Center. She is from Neenah and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and her master’s degree at Viterbo University in La Crosse. Before joining our staff in January, she was an adjunct ABE instructor for nine years at other Fox Valley Technical College campuses. Sally is fluent in Spanish, having also taught middle school Spanish for several years. She is married with two daughters, and lives in Sherwood.

What do students have to say about FVTC Center and our Adult Basic Education Program?

One of our students told us that he quit school to take a job at age 18 “by signing a paper in his high school guidance counselor’s office and walking out the door.” Now in mid-life with a family, the student needs a diploma, because “there are no job options without one” and he really wishes he had stayed in school or gotten his HSED years ago. Being older, he feels more driven to do this. As a result, the student is coming in to the ABE Lab at the Chilton Center and working toward his HSED. He also has told us that he feels comfortable learning in this environment.

Another one of our ABE students is also taking an additional class here for Technical School credit. She is enrolled in a Microsoft Office class to increase her future work options.

FVTC Chilton Center is having an Adult Basic Education Program Open House on Saturday, April 16, from 9 a. m. to 1 p. m. Prospective students and their families are invited to come and meet our instructor, Sally Thiede, tour our ABE classroom area and the rest of our campus, and learn more about our programs. For more information, please call FVTC Chilton Center at 849-4416 or toll-free at (800) 843-4131.