Putting Education Reform To The Test

Meet The New Alternatives To The GED

Two companies have designed alternatives to the GED. Those new tests still allow students to take a pencil and paper version.

albertogp123 / Flickr

Two companies have designed alternatives to the GED. Those new tests still allow students to take a pencil and paper version.

As the GED prepares for a major overhaul in January, a growing number of states are trying a new class of tests designed as alternatives to the GED.

Like the GED, the new tests will be offered online. Unlike the GED, the competitors will still offer a pencil-and-paper version. And one of the biggest selling points of the new exams is that they will cost less than half of the new GED (though GED argues they have a comprehensive suite of services — such as transcripts and practice tests — that offers more value).


HiSET is the high school equivalency exam offered by ETS. The $50 test covers covers five subjects: reading and language arts, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Like the other alternatives to the GED, HiSET came about because some states were concerned about the changes to the new GED.

The transition to completely computer-based testing was not something that the states felt that they could accomplish by January 2014,” said Amy Riker, national executive director for ETS. “We’ve left that option up to the state and up to the test centers and test takers.”

Like the other high school equivalency exams, the HiSET is modular. A student could take the full test all at one time or take it in pieces. Likewise, they could also choose to take part of the test on paper and other parts on computer.


TASC stands for Test Assessing Secondary Completion, and is the high school equivalency exam from CTB/McGraw-Hill.

The exam covers five subjects: reading and language arts, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

The test will cost $52.

Mike Johnson, National Adult Education Manager said the exam is designed to transition students and adult education programs toward new Common Core State Standards. The K-12 standards for math, English language arts and literacy have been fully adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. The HiSET and new GED are aligned to Common Core as well..

TASC will look very traditional in 2014, with lots of multiple-choice questions. Starting in 2015 the test will use more technology-enabled questions.

None of the GED alternatives have been approved for use in Florida yet. However, the state is considering new high school equivalency tests for use in 2015.


  • Jeffery Sikes

    The hart of the failure of GED, lies in the program itself and not in those who are involved in administering that program. Administrators of the GED know that just under 50% of the people who want a General Diploma, will ever acquire it based upon the current system. Why is this true?

    The system is designed completely by educators who make the major and failed assumption that all participants are college bound, which is complete falsehood. An extremely low percentage of those fortunate enough to pass the current, college preparatory based GED, ever attend college. The current college preparatory based GED, requires students to hold a knowledge of engineering level mathematics but provides no business mathematics or understanding of banking or investment. The same GED system equally requires an understanding of scientific theory which most will never use. The same test provides absolutely no understanding of Economics, Health Autonomy, Law, etc.

    Educators who assembled the GED and High School system, did so based upon their desire for those systems to support a college pathway. Both systems, as defined by the boards of education, are failures at achieving the necessary skills of the individuals who are not and will not be college bound. This is why the dropout rate has excelled in America and why the GED systems fail. Of course students are not interested in advanced courses in mathematics or higher and focused science which they will never use.

    For these reasons the education system in America need to change, consider a model such as this for instance: Once children complete Junior High School, they should be tested and the best pathway chosen for their continued education. At that point they will either enter College preparatory school (High School is completely eliminated) or Business preparatory School.

    1) College preparatory school, should provide the courses needed by the students to be successful in institutions of higher learning and should be open to anyone of any age who wishes to pursue that pathway.

    2) Business preparatory school should be open to all those who are not going to pursue at this time institutions of higher learning.

    Business preparatory school should include:

    Sound Business mathematics, banking, investing and home economics.

    American and State government and law and International law

    Communication skills and Language

    Medical skills and anatomy

    American history

    General Chemistry

    General Science (without any theory or postulation)

    General awareness of the functional operations of America (i.e. Transportation, Medical, and Financial, institutions and systems ), How to avoid pitfalls within those systems as well as scams and fraud.

    What is now known as the GED should be based upon achieving Business preparatory requirements and the final exam for anyone wanting to secure a diploma for that level of learning should be the same no matter if they are 14 or 80 years old.

    • wanda

      The new GED makes it almost impossible for someone like me at almost 35 to get my GED and to find a good job! I thought I would spend the rest of my life as a nursing assistant/hospice aide. I loved my job, didn’t make tons of money, but I went home feeling like I not only did a great job at what I did but that I helped someone who was on their death bed and their family, then I had a stroke and to make a long story short, I have to find a new field of employment….but only know healthcare and don’t have a GED….I look at this new test and I am so lost :( Seems the government wants those of us dependent to stay dependent! I hate to feel that way but it gets proven everyday! I will prevail however…someway!!! I am in FL where this test is not yet used

      • Soul Glo

        The new GED isn’t that hard. Get cracking the Ged by Princeton Review, 2014 or 2015.

        • hwy505

          Sorry, you are wrong. My son took the Social Studies portion – the essay questions ask for interpretation by the founding fathers from those during the Period of the Enlightenment. The use of operative words within an unknown essay subject is mandatory – if scored with a human element, the person grading would read whether or not the student grasped the work and understood the idea, but worded it within a different context. We went over a few of the questions, and quite honestly, there are things in there that I didn’t learn until my junior year as an undergrad.

    • Soul Glo

      Yet, you can’t even construct a sentence. You comb the net and copy articles. And paste them, lol.

    • Soul Glo

      I just copied a segment and put it on Google search, lol. It seems your article was from another source, lol.

  • Palesa Floret

    And California has it’s own http://www.chspe.net/ It’s funny that the GED is about practical knowledge (well originally) and now they are trying to throw stuff in there that isn’t what the test was intended to show. I guess the Gov. deemed the GED bad when kids who went through their four years couldn’t pass it, but those kids who dropped or who were home educated could. It should tell people that high school needs an overhaul not the GED.

    The GED is about thinking skills over memorization. I guess they want to make it harder and at the same time dumb/numb it down so that it can be “prestigious” please!

  • Angie

    I think this alternative is a much a better way than the 2014 GED. The 2014 G.E.D. is raping and raiding the pockets of those who need a diploma, and most GED test takers are lower income and don’t have a lot of money to begin with, but they don’t care as long as it fills their greedy pockets. Glad I went through http://www.secretgedloophole.com and got my diploma and will NEVER have to worry about taking another GED exam EVER again!

  • marion

    i took the test 3 times getting the same results….2450 out of 2500 to pass .im really dying to have a ged/diploma with my name on it since the year of 2006 but it seems to be difficult. even after knowing where i stand and studying as well i still feel as if the scores were unreal…i feel i was cheated in a way especially not knowing what needs to be worked on…if anything needed to be worked on i doubt that….the new ged is even worse from what im hearing..not really sure if i should continue to go for what i want…now a days we dont even use whats on the test in real life i mean lets be honest…..theres gotta be something else out there for those of who have been trying or even feel cheated in a way i have a great job without having my ged but im pretty sure i deserve more…god bless

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