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New Pathways to A High School Equivalency Diploma

by on May 8, 2014

GED® is no longer the only acronym for a high school equivalency diploma. As of January 1, 2014, the GED®, initiated in 1942 , will no longer be used.1 Public libraries, as well as other educational and literacy centers, can now offer adult learners different pathways to a high school equivalency diploma.

GED® Isn’t the Only Word to Use
Several tests have been developed to meet the challenges of the Common Core Standards, and individual state education departments can choose from the many available: GED® -Ready, an updated version of Pearson Vue’s former exam, the TASC-R (Test Accessing Secondary Completion) designed by McGraw Hill, and the HiSET® Program (High School Equivalency Test) developed by ETS (Educational Testing Services) and ITP (University of Iowa Testing Service) Now, each qualifies as an approved high school equivalency diploma. GED® -Ready has been updated in most states. However, HiSET® is set to go in ten states—Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Wyoming.2 The TASC-R replaces the GED® in New York, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia.3 New Jersey has elected to allow test-takers the option of choosing any of these three assessments as a pathway toward a state-issued diploma.4

Libraries Need to Spread the Word—Time is Running Out
While the GED® isn’t valid anymore, some of its old sub-test scores may be. However, time is running out. The GED Testing Service’s community service campaign, The Closeout Campaign, informed test-takers that previous passing sub-test scores were wiped out in January 2014.5 But that’s not true for the TASC-R service and HiSET® users—they’re using those sub-test scores. Both have optioned in a two year grandfathering period (2014-2015) for previous passing GED® sub-test scores.67

The Challenge Is @ Our Library
All of these tests, aligned to the newest Common Core standards, will be challenging for both the test-takers and the test-givers, with public libraries certainly being one. The GED® -Ready is a completely CBT (Computer Based Test) while the TASC-R and HiSET® can be administered either on the computer or by paper and pencil.89 Adult learners who lack computer skills will have a more difficult time taking the GED® -Ready. This “digital” illiteracy could restrict GED access for many in our communities, especially older learners, second language learners, and the economically disadvantaged. It’s not just the GED® that’s changed—the whole system has changed. How is your public library getting the message out there?

There Are Many Paths
State education departments are offering other alternate pathways, too. Not all adult learners succeed by taking exams. One alternative that’s been widely accepted is the National External Diploma Program (NEDP). There are presently 76 NEDP centers in seven states now offering a high school equivalency diploma.10

The NEDP is a distance learning, performance-based assessment and offers some adult learners advantages

  • Geared toward working adults,
  • Credit awarded for existing skills
  • Focus on career pathways.

Another alternative pathway afforded veterans who left school in order to enlist in the military and serve during specific time periods, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War can receive a high school diploma through Operation Recognition. Operation Recognition has awarded high school diplomas, even posthumously, to many veterans.

Different Pathways to a HS Equivalency Diploma

The library continues to make lifelong learning for everyone possible, accessible, and affordable. There are many pathways to a high school equivalency diploma and the library continues to provide direction and to offer the necessary tools to assist in making the climb.


  1. GED Testing Service. “About GED Test Service.” GED Testing Service. (accessed February 23, 2014).
  2. Baran, Jason. “That’s 10: New Jersey is 10th State to Approve ETS’s HiSET® Program for High School Equivalency.” Educational Testing Service. (accessed February 23, 2014).
  3. CTB/McGraw Hill LLC. “New Jersey and West Virginia Approve TASC.” Test Accessing Secondary Completion. (accessed February 23, 2014).
  4. New Jersey Department of Education. “Christie Administration Announces New Adult Education.” New Jersey Department of Education. (accessed February 23, 2014).
  5. GED® Testing Service. “2014 GED® Test FAQs.” GED Testing Service. (accessed February 23, 2014)
  6. CTB/McGraw-Hill LLC. “TEST ASSESSING SECONDARY COMPLETION – TASC.” The TASC Advantage. (accessed February 23, 2014).
  7. Educational Testing Services). “Why the HiSET Program (For States and Educators).” HiSET Exam Overview (For States and Educators). (accessed February 23, 2014).
  8. CTB/McGraw-Hill LLC. “TEST ASSESSING SECONDARY COMPLETION: TASC.” FAQs: TASC. (accessed February 23, 2014).
  9. Educational Testing Service. “Accepting Combined Scores (For States and Educators).” HiSET Test Overview (For States & Educators).  (accessed February 23, 2014).
  10. CASAS. “NEDP Locations.” National External Diploma Programs.  (accessed February 23, 2014).