As The GED Goes Online, Companies Develop Print Alternatives

Dec 19, 2013

Two companies have designed alternatives to the GED. Those new tests still allow students to take a pencil and paper version.
Credit albertogp123 / Flickr

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's price (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 stats 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 exam, 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, McGraw Hill's 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.