KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The Basic Skills Education Program has achieved an exceptional success rate here and is ready to offer classes in new locations.
The overall General Technical score achieved by service members attending classes at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks BSEP in 2022 was 128.
“A good score is 110 or above,” said Amenia McKen, BSEP education counselor.
“This score gives them a good spectrum of jobs and options they can consider and apply to while they serve in the military.”
McKen said that many Soldiers, when they first join the military, don’t have good GT scores.
“They usually score between 90 and 105,” she said. “That can really limit what fields they can get into.”
This is where BSEP comes into play.
BSEP is one of four Functional Academic Skills Training programs. It is teacher-facilitated and it is designed to help Soldiers raise their GT scores when re-testing on the Armed Forces Classification Test.
It can also help Soldiers establish eligibility for commissioning programs, improve basic skills for college courses, and increase chances for promotion.
The course is very fast paced, and it is up to each individual to put in the effort and get as much as they can out of the class.
“We start off with the basics, and every day we build upon that until Soldiers are ready,” McKen said. “We work with them on three general areas: word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and arithmetic reasoning. However, we are very heavy in math,” she added.
A total of 17 classes were offered in 2022, providing instruction for 127 service members. Out of all participants, 115 of them raised their GT score, with 77 of them going above 110.
The program is available to Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers. It consists of 40 hours face-to-face learning, and an additional 20 hours of online, individual instruction.
Classes have 10-12 participants, and are scheduled at least once a month. They are announced via email two or three weeks before the start date to give enough time to participants to sign up and get their commander’s signature.
Even though only one instructor is assigned to each class, McKen said that she and the other instructors always work together to ensure the students get the best experience.
“Each one of us has a different teaching style,” said Emerald Schumacher, BSEP instructor. “We all teach from the same curriculum, but we all bring our own teaching perspective.”
Any Soldier, regardless of their rank, is encouraged to take the class if they would like an opportunity to boost both their GT and Skill Technical scores. ST scores include everything that is in the GT plus general science knowledge.
“Our program is very rigorous,” said Schumacher. “We teach service members everything they need to know, but in the end it’s really up to the individual to show dedication.”
Terry Taylor, BSEP instructor, said that an active participation is required to be successful in the course.
“Service members should expect to have homework every night,” she added. “You’ve got to do the work and be dedicated.”
Sometimes life can be overwhelming, and the BSEP instructors urge all future participants to sign up only if they think they can commit 100%.
“BSEP instructors help Soldiers change their lives for the best,” said Taylor.
The program aims at promoting retention, increasing re-enlistment options, and improving job performance.
Soldiers interested in raising their GT score may contact their local education center for any questions on how to sign up for BSEP.