College & Workforce Readiness

New High School Equivalency Tests Gain Ground

By Catherine Gewertz — May 20, 2016 1 min read
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich is urging his state to allow use of two high school equivalency tests in addition to the GED. If approved, the move would add to the shift that’s already underway to erode the dominance of the GED.

Gov. Kasich plans to add language to a bill in the state legislature to allow people who didn’t complete high school to use two more as-yet-unspecified tests in addition to the GED to earn their diplomas, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

In proposing the bill, Kasich wanted to create more options for young people, but he also wanted to create “a competitive market” to help drive down test costs, Ryan Burgess, the director of the governor’s office of workforce transformation, told a house committee Tuesday, according to the Plain Dealer.

Since the GED was revamped and aligned with the common core, its price has gone up, testing volume and pass rates have gone down, and competitors have chipped away at its market share. More than 40 states banded together in a working group to explore alternatives to the GED. Colorado is one of the states that have added competing equivalency tests to their offerings.

So far, the main competitors to the GED are the Educational Testing Service’s High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET, and McGraw-Hill Education CTB’s Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC.

The Education Commission of the States has been tracking the changes in the high school equivalency test market, creating a chart that compares the formats and cost of the three tests, and shows which states are using which as of July 2015, and how they’re subsidizing those tests. UPDATE: The author of that ECS report, Jennifer Zinth, sent me an update to that chart: She said that as of May 2016, 25 states offer HiSET or TASC as alternatives to the GED.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.