Gear Up for Life!







 Step into the GED Series

The Step into the GED Series is a standards-based instructional series for people who want to improve their skills in reading, writing, and math while acquiring the vocabulary and basic information related to content areas covered in standard K-12 curricula or in GED preparation. In addition, content includes workplace and personal development topics that are relevant to the lives of younger and older adults. Topics are listed below under each of the first thirteen units. Gear Up can be completed online with instructor facilitation or offline with local facilitation.

The series contains 13 units, which are particularly helpful for anyone who wants to improve academic skills for job advancement or simple pleasure, or for those who want to start studying to pass the GED. The units may be taken in any order since they are self contained and not interdependent in nature. Each unit requires the completion of a project. It also contains a reading passage followed by related reading, writing, math, and game activities, in addition to quizzes with instant feedback. The reading passages in each unit are matched to audio-clips, which students may opt to hear as they process the reading for each topic.

The Step into the GED is not designed to teach math, reading and writing in isolation. Those skills are covered only within the context of each topic. In that way, students learn academic skills while being exposed to concepts and vocabulary within the content areas they will face in preparing to pass the GED.

Pre-requisites for success include being able to read at a fifth-grade reading level and perform very basic operations using whole numbers (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.) For online participation, it is helpful to be able to use a computer keyboard.

Completion Objectives

Student successfully completing the The Step into the GED series will perform as described in each NRS category, as listed below.

National Reporting System (NRS) Standards/Measures Addressed

Literacy Level

Basic Reading and Writing

Numeracy Skills

Functional and Workplace Skills

Beginning Basic Education

Test Benchmark:

TABE (9–10) scale scores (grade level 2–3.9):

Reading: 368–460

Total Math: 314–441

Language: 390–490

CASAS scale scores:

Reading: 201–210

Math: 201–210

Writing: 201–225

Wonderlic GAIN scale scores:

English: 407-525

Math: 315-522

MAPT scale scores:

All tests: 200-299

Individual can read simple material on familiar subjects and comprehend simple and compound sentences in single or linked paragraphs containing a familiar vocabulary; can write simple notes and messages on familiar situations but lacks clarity and focus. Sentence structure lacks variety, but individual shows some control of basic grammar (e.g., present and past tense) and consistent use of punctuation (e.g., periods, capitalization).

Individual can count, add, and subtract three digit numbers, can perform multiplication through 12, can identify simple fractions, and perform other simple arithmetic operations.

Individual is able to read simple directions, signs, and maps, fill out simple forms requiring basic personal information, write phone messages, and make simple changes. There is minimal knowledge of and experience with using computers and related technology. The individual can handle basic entry level jobs that require minimal literacy skills; can recognize very short, explicit, pictorial texts (e.g., understands logos related to worker safety before using a piece of machinery); and can read want ads and complete simple job applications.

Low Intermediate Basic Education

Test Benchmark:

TABE (9–10) scale scores (grade level 4–5.9):

Reading: 461–517

Total Math: 442–505

Language: 491–523

CASAS scale scores:

Reading: 211–220

Math: 211–220

Writing: 226–242

Wonderlic GAIN scale scores:

English: 526-661

Math: 523-669

MAPT scale scores:

All tests: 300-399

Individual can read text on familiar subjects that have a simple and clear underlying structure (e.g., clear main idea, chronological order); can use context to determine meaning; can interpret actions required in specific written directions; can write simple paragraphs with a main idea and supporting details on familiar topics (e.g., daily activities, personal issues) by recombining learned vocabulary and structures; and can self and peer edit for spelling and punctuation errors.

Individual can perform with high accuracy all four basic math operations using whole numbers up to three digits and can identify and use all basic mathematical symbols.

Individual is able to handle basic reading, writing, and computational tasks related to life roles, such as completing medical forms, order forms, or job applications; and can read simple charts, graphs, labels, and payroll stubs and simple authentic material if familiar with the topic. The individual can use simple computer programs and perform a sequence of routine tasks given direction using technology (e.g., fax machine, computer operation). The individual can qualify for entry level jobs that require following basic written instructions and diagrams with assistance, such as oral clarification; can write a short report or message to fellow workers; and can read simple dials and scales and take routine measurements.

High Intermediate Basic Education

Test Benchmark:

TABE (9–10) scale scores (grade level 6–8.9):

Reading: 518–566

Total Math: 506–565

Language: 524–559

CASAS scale scores:

Reading: 221–235

Math: 221–235

Writing: 243–260

WorkKeys scale scores:

Reading for Information: 75–78

Writing: 75–77

Applied Mathematics: 75–77

Wonderlic GAIN scale scores:

English: 662-746

Math: 670-775

MAPT scale scores:

All tests: 400-499

Individual is able to read simple descriptions and narratives on familiar subjects or from which new vocabulary can be determined by context and can make some minimal inferences about familiar texts and compare and contrast information from such texts but not consistently. The individual can write simple narrative descriptions and short essays on familiar topics and has consistent use of basic punctuation but makes grammatical errors with complex structures.

Individual can perform all four basic math operations with whole numbers and fractions; can determine correct math operations for solving narrative math problems and can convert fractions to decimals and decimals to fractions; and can perform basic operations on fractions.

Individual is able to handle basic life skills tasks such as graphs, charts, and labels and can follow multistep diagrams; can read authentic materials on familiar topics, such as simple employee handbooks and payroll stubs; can complete forms such as a job application and reconcile a bank statement. Can handle jobs that involve following simple written instructions and diagrams; can read procedural texts, where the information is supported by diagrams, to remedy a problem, such as locating a problem with a machine or carrying out repairs using a repair manual. The individual can learn or work with most basic computer software, such as using a word processor to produce own texts, and can follow simple instructions for using technology.

 Students will ...

  1. Increase reading, writing and math levels as shown by TABE or other standardized testing tools, as determined by each program.
  2. Apply and interpret the basic vocabulary used in each area of study (economics, geography, history, government, literature, science, technology, personal development, and the workplace) in writing, reading, and speaking.
  3. Solve problems using basic concepts related to each unit of study.
  4. Apply critical thinking skills through multiple activities (exercises, games, Respond correctly to multiple-choice questions in quizzes similar to those on the GED and other standardized assessment tools.

To review the GU Series content and tutorial topics, go to the STEP INTO GED SERIES page. Each Unit presents the same sequence, which includes the following sections:

  1. Topic introduction and objectives
  2. Content reading
  3. Comprehension activities
  4. Reading activities
  5. Writing activities
  6. A fun activity


Students will complete units at their own pace. We estimate that for most students, who have the reading, writing, and math prerequisites, each unit could be covered in 5 hours, for a total of 65 hours.






E1: Loans, Interest, and Credit


P=Personal Development


E2:Basic Accounting



G: Maps



H1: Early America



H2: American Colonies



L: Poetry









P3: Child Development



S1: Earth's Water



S2: The Circulatory System



T: Intro to the Scientific Calculator



W: Intro to Careers



Total Estimated Hours


CC license
Suggested attribution: created by Leecy Wise and Vicky Lara, 2011