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ABE vs. GED vs. Pre-Curriculum Developmental Courses

Starting a college career can be intimidating, especially when students lack confidence in basic skills such as math, reading, computing and study skills.  Rowan-Cabarrus offers three programs for students at various levels to help them gain the basic skills they need to succeed in college, in their careers and at home. These programs are the adult basic education (ABE) program, general education development (GED) and pre-curriculum developmental courses.

Where to Start

While the descriptions for each option are listed below, students interested in either the ABE or GED programs are required to start with a general orientation. The orientation sessions will help students learn basic study and learning skills and, through assessment testing, place them in the program that will be most beneficial to them in their college career.

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

The ABE program is designed for adult students who test below a ninth grade level in math or reading. After completing the orientation sessions, students may immediately begin attending the ABE lab. The ABE program will build skills in reading, writing, speaking, problem-solving, and computation to help adults function in society, on a job or in the family. ABE instruction is free for all students. Upon completion of the ABE program, students are encouraged to enroll in the GED program.

General Education Development (GED)

The GED program is designed for adult students who test above a ninth grade level in math and reading but have not obtained a high school diploma. The GED program will prepare students to successfully pass the General Education Development (GED) Test. Passing the GED test will allow adult students to be awarded a North Carolina Equivalency Diploma, which is nationally recognized as equivalent to a traditional high school diploma. The GED program covers social studies, science, literature, mathematics, and writing skills. Instruction is free to all students. However, there is a required one-time $25 testing fee to cover the costs of the GED tests.

Pre-Curriculum Developmental Courses

Pre-curriculum developmental courses at Rowan-Cabarrus are designed for adult students who test above a ninth grade level; have already obtained a high school diploma or equivalency; and wish to further develop basic skills to improve their ability to be successful in curriculum courses. Pre-curriculum developmental courses are will improve students’ reading, writing, spelling, mathematics and computer skills. Usually, students who take developmental courses will be advised that they can take one or two of their regular program courses at the same time. Like curriculum courses, students must apply to the college, pay tuition and fees and register for pre-curriculum developmental courses. Pre-curriculum developmental courses are non-credit courses and thus will not affect students’ GPA.

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