2013-2014 Catalog

Basic Skills


Western Piedmont Community College is committed to the education of all citizens of Burke County. To fulfill this commitment, the Division of Developmental Education provides courses for individuals who are seeking a high school credential and individuals who want to increase their basic knowledge to improve their personal and community life.


Persons age 16 or 17 years may be considered a student with special needs and may be admitted into Basic Skills/High School Completion Programs. A minor who has been withdrawn from school a minimum of six months must submit a Referral for Alternative Education form obtained from the local or private educational agency and call a High School Completion Coordinator to setup an interview for the student and a parent or legal guardian.

A minor may be admitted prior to the six-month waiting period by submitting the two required forms, providing documentation of one or more of the following special needs and obtaining approval from the Basic Skills Admission Committee:

  1. Marriage or emancipation;
  2. Single parenthood;
  3. Medical considerations; or
  4. Full-time employment necessary to the financial well-being of the family.

The minor student who has been suspended or expelled from school must submit all necessary forms and documentation plus be approved by the Basic Skills Admissions Committee.

Persons age 16 or older who are residents of Broughton Hospital, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center, Western Youth Institution, or Foothills Correctional Institution, none of whom fall under the jurisdiction of the local public schools, may be classified by the administrators of those institutions as “persons with special needs.” These persons may be admitted to certain courses and/or programs with permission of the appropriate institution administrator and approval of the Dean of Developmental Education.

Course Registration

Students register in person on the first day of attendance at the class site, or orientation session.

Adult Basic Education

This program provides basic skills instruction to those individuals who possess less than eighth grade academic skills. Instruction covers the fundamentals of mathematics, science, social studies, reading, and English.

There are no fees or charges and students may enroll at any time at off-campus sites. Students interested in studying at the Jim A. Richardson Complex should contact WPCC for enrollment information. All materials have been specially prepared for adults with emphasis on individual needs and interests.

Compensatory Education

Special education programs for intellectually disabled adults are provided on the Jim A. Richardson Complex, in the community, and in institutions. These programs provide literacy, community living and pre-vocational skill development learning activities. There is no registration fee.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

English as a Second Language is designed for adults who want to learn the English language skills necessary to function effectively in an English-speaking environment. Classes are free and meet at the Jim A. Richardson Complex as well as at convenient sites in the community.

High School Completion

The Adult High School Diploma Program and the High School Equivalency Program (GED©) provide two ways to complete requirements for a high school diploma. Minor applicants, age 16 or 17 years, may enroll as defined in the admission regulations. There is no registration fee.

The Adult High School Diploma Program is a cooperative arrangement between Western Piedmont Community College and the Burke County Public School Board of Education. The College serves as the administering agency.

An individually planned program of study is developed for each student based on a formal placement test and any available high school transcript. The staff reviews previous school records and provides counseling for each student to establish academic status. The courses required for graduation are then determined. Students attend classes in English, mathematics, social studies, science, health, physical education, and electives. When a student satisfactorily completes the required courses and passes any necessary tests, a high school diploma is awarded.

The High School Diploma Equivalency Program prepares students for the General Educational Development Test (GED©) through study at the Jim A. Richardson Complex or community class sites. Instructors assess the educational needs of entering students through the use of placement inventories and then develop an appropriate program of study. Instructors are always available for individual assistance. Students should contact the College for enrollment information.

Fast Track, a concentrated study program for students who need only a brief academic review in the five GED© subject areas, is also offered. Class instruction and practice testing are provided.

The Online class offers the opportunity for students to prepare from home for the GED© tests. To be able to participate in this class, a student must be able to read on a ninth-grade level, have access to a computer with an Internet connection, and be highly self-motivated. To receive the free password which allows access to the course material, a student must first attend an orientation class where the software and the course expectations are explained. The course material contains lessons, quizzes, post-tests, and access to a message board where the students and the teacher may interact. Once a student is prepared for the subject tests, GED© testing is handled in the same way that follows preparation for the tests in a traditional class or lab setting.

The GED© tests measure a student’s academic achievement in the areas of social studies, science, reading, writing, and mathematics. Examinees who receive a score of 2250 or better on the GED© tests, with no single test score below 410, are awarded the High School Diploma Equivalency. The diploma is awarded by the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges and is the legal equivalent of a high school diploma for purposes of college admission and employment.

An applicant must be a resident of North Carolina, must have a current valid government issued photo ID and must file an application prior to testing. For more information about testing fees, call the Basic Skills Program office. The GED© Test is given each month.