External Diploma Program (EDP)

What is the EDP?
The National External Diploma Program (NEDP) provides a unique way for adults to earn a high school diploma. The program allows adults to demonstrate their high school level skills by applying their life experiences in real-life situations. NEDP is not a traditional instructional program. Instead, it provides the opportunity for participants to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. Because NEDP participants are adults, the program structure offers considerable flexibility. Participants complete parts of the program at home and the other parts in a series of meetings on site with a trained advisor and assessor.

The program consists of two phases: the Diagnostic Phase and the Assessment Phase. In the Diagnostic Phase an NEDP advisor evaluates the participant’s basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, and the participant completes a survey of prior life experiences. In the Assessment phase, the participant demonstrates writing, speaking, mathematics, problem-solving, reading, and critical thinking skills through the performance of real-life tasks. Embedded in these real-life tasks are sixty-five individual competencies. A trained assessor determines that the participant has demonstrated each of these competencies with one hundred percent accuracy.  (adapted from the CASAS NEDP Website)

EDP Students would be expected to write a business letter, differentiate between fact, fiction and opinion in consumer ads, news articles and TV news shows; generate a cover letter and resume and assess personal characteristics and skills.  There are also tasks that require a student to calculate area and perimeter, find the percents for tips or interest on a loan, and interpret charts and graphs; investigate community resources, react to art/live performance. There are assignments that help a student demonstrate responsibility for ones own health, consider their relationship to the environment and the interconnectedness of the global economy, and rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Upon completion of these two phases, the participant is awarded a high school diploma through Seattle Central Community College.
Is there a fee for the EDP?  We ask students who are able, to pay $100 to help cover the cost of the materials.  This fee can be reduced or waived depending on eligibility. Students will also be required to pay a $25 registration fee for SCCC at the start of the program, and a $25 diploma fee upon completion.
How can I help a student prepare for the EDP?
In order to begin the EDP program, students must test at a High Intermediate Basic Education level (level 4) in their math skills and a Low Adult Secondary Education level (level 5) in their reading skills.  In addition, a student must be able to write a paragraph with minimal grammatical errors and be prepared to work on a series of independent tasks each week.  Instructors and tutors can target specific reading, writing, and math skills in order to help students get to the necessary level to begin the EDP.  You can also incorporate an emphasis on independent student work, topical research, life skills, interviewing skills, and analytical skills into your instruction in order to help your student succeed in the EDP.
How do I know when a student is ready for the EDP?
In order to begin the EDP, students must complete math and reading appraisals with a staff person.  Your student’s advisor can help determine if your student is ready to begin the EDP.
What kind of math skills do students use in the EDP?
The EDP tasks include basic math tasks such as word problems, calculating area and perimeter, and using percents and fractions.  Some math in the EDP program must be done without a calculator, so students should be prepared to do these things without using a calculator.
How do students choose between the EDP and GED? Is there an advantage of one over the other?
Proof of high school completion is necessary for entrance into college as well as most training or apprenticeship programs.  Students can take community college classes without a diploma or GED, as long as they pass the Compass test (link to test info), which is required.  However, students cannot receive financial aid without a diploma or GED. 

Students who are comfortable with standardized tests and who have high school level skills can often complete the GED quickly.  The EDP program can take more time, but students often find it more interesting than the GED because it encourages them to use their personal knowledge and skills. 

Because much of the EDP is done independently, students who pursue the EDP find that the program requires significant motivation and focus.  Students with a concrete goal (going to college, entering a training program, or getting a better job) are often more successful in completing the EDP.