Education FAQ

1. Who do you serve in your education program?

TCH’s education program serves adults 18 and over who want to improve their basic skills (reading, writing and math) or learn basic English (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Our classes serve refugees, immigrants, and English speaking adults. We have programs for adults receiving public assistance or TANF, and we serve a number of working adults. Our levels of instruction are based on the Washington State system. We serve levels 1-6 in English as a Second Language, and levels 1-6 in our Adult Basic Education program.

2. What is a GED® test?

GED® stands for General Educational Development. The GED® testing program are a battery of four tests (Reasoning through Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies) which, when passed, certify that the taker has American or Canadian high school academic skills. A student can prepare for the GED® test at Tacoma Community House but must take the actual tests at a certified testing center. There are centers in Tacoma at the community and technical colleges.

3. What does ELA stand for? BEdA?

ELA stands for English Language Acquisition ; BEdA  stands for Basic Education for Adults.

4. What are basic skills?

Basic skills include reading, writing, and math.

5. Do I have to pay for classes at TCH?

Yes, all of our classes cost $25 per quarter. Students receiving TANF can get a waiver.

6. How do I sign up for a class?

The State of Washington requires that adults who participate in BEdA or ELA classes take the CASAS test. In order to sign up for a class a student must attend an information session and make an appointment to be tested. We provide testing times during the week that can accommodate students who work and students who can attend in the day. Call and ask for an appointment at 253-383-3951.

7. What is the CASAS?

CASAS stands for Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems. The CASAS tests that are used in the Adult Basic Education system in Washington are standardized tests that help programs place students in an instructional level. CASAS is also used to measure students’ progress after 45 hours of instruction.

8. I work. Are there classes at different times of the day for me?

We have ELA classes that operate in the morning, afternoon and evening. Our basic skills classes operate in the mornings and afternoons. See the schedule for current class times.

9. What if I can’t attend four days a week?

We have a tutoring program that matches students with trained volunteers who can help them learn to read or to tackle a specific goal, such as passing a test. Tutors are asked to work with students at least two days a week. Times can be arranged to fit students’ schedules.

10. Where do you offer classes?

For the location of our classes, click here.

11. Am I eligible to attend your classes?

First, you must be an adult 18 years or older. Sometimes we will enroll someone who is 17 years old if he or she is close to turning 18.

Second, we do not serve English language learners who are on visitor, student, or academic visas.

Third, we offer 6 levels of ELA. If an individual tests higher than the classes we offer, we will refer him or her to one of the community colleges.

12. How long does it take before I can take the GED® test?

This is a common question that has always been difficult to answer. The GED® test is very challenging. At TCH we offer basic skills classes, pre-GED® and GED® testing preparation. The amount of time it takes a student to pass the GED® test depends on where the student starts and how hard the student works.

13. I just want to learn math. Can I take just one class?

Yes, it is possible to take only one class at TCH.

14. I’d really like to learn to use a computer. Do you have computer classes?

Staff is available to help students learn to use computers and to use educational software. But at this time only students enrolled in our educational programs can use the lab at our TCH site.

15. I’d like to eventually go to community college. How can you help me?

TCH works with the five community and technical colleges in our county. We can help our ELA and basic skills students prepare to go on to the college programs, get financial aid, and explore career options.