New testing for equivalent high school diploma to begin in 2014
Rockport — A new type of testing has been adopted by the state of Maine for non-traditional students to gain a high school diploma.
Starting Jan. 2, adult education programs statewide will switch from the General Educational Development Degree, or GED, to the High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET.
According to Tim Dresser, director of Five Towns Adult and Community Education the state made the change to help transition from paper-based to electronic testing.
“The change from the GED to the HiSET is in place for 2014,” he said. “This coming year we are allowed to test in paper form, with our ultimate goal to be able to do the testing electronically.”
The HiSET is designed to test the aptitude of the student in five subject areas including, reading, writing, science, social studies and mathematics.
Dresser said because the HiSET test is similar to the current testing system, the state can apply passing scores from already completed GED exams toward completion of the HiSET test.
“What it means really is that if a student began the test process in 2013, the completed portions of that test will be honored and can be applied towards the completion,” he said.
The nonprofit GED program was sold to Pearson Learning Solutions and appeared to be the only option for high school equivalency nationwide. Costs of the testing and the potential that previous test scores would not be accepted prompted a number of states to investigate other possibilities. When Educational Testing Systems came up with a second choice - the HiSET - for gaining a high school-equivalent diploma, eight states, including Maine, opted to make the switch.
“This new test is the same as the old except I’ve been told that there is more algebra on the math section of the test,” Dresser said. “This is a much better fit because Maine has a law that states that we can not charge residents to take the test.”
A passing score on each subject test is a scaled score of 8 out of 20, but students must achieve a total scaled score of 45 to successfully achieve a high school equivalency diploma. Students that achieve a scaled score of 15 or higher on each subject test are designated as being ready to attend college or begin a career.
For more information about HiSET testing contact Five Town Community School District Adult and Community Education at 236-7800, option 5.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
(207) 236-8511 ext. 303
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