State picks HiSet exams to replace GED tests for high school equivalency
As of Jan. 1, New Hampshire no longer offers the General Education Development, or GED, tests that provided a credential commonly accepted as an alternative to a high school diploma. Rather than the GED tests, the state has opted for the HiSet exams, one of several new equivalency testing programs that, like the GED, will be based on the Common Core State Standards.
Norm-based assessments measure how people perform compared to others who take the test, while standards-based tests measure performance based on set criteria such as Common Core.
And like a high school diploma, a high school equivalency credential, whether it’s a GED or a HiSet certificate, represents a certain level of capability.
Adult education leaders in several states, including New Hampshire, began shopping around for an alternative to GED. The non-profit Education Testing Services, ETS, developed the HiSet tests, and the for-profit publisher McGraw-Hill come up with the Test Assessing Secondary Completion or TASC test.
“We’ll have both,” she said. “We have such a wide range of people of all ages coming in from all over the world. Some people, especially older people, are more comfortable taking a test on paper.”
Pearson has been defensive about doubling the cost of the GED tests, and the company said the increase is “not extreme.” But as Phillis and others in the field of adult education point out, many candidates for a high school equivalency credential are minimum-wage earners hoping to find higher paying jobs, and for them those dollars matter.
“We’re working on it, and our teachers have been gearing up for the changes for more than a year,” she said. “It will be a gradual transition, but it’s still a challenge.”
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