High School Equivalency Changes

THE ISSUE

New York City residents who lack a High School Diploma can advance their educational and career goals by earning a High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma. While the General Educational Development Test, or GED®, has been the primary pathway to a HSE Diploma for many years, New York State no longer offers the GED® and instead offers a new HSE assessment, starting in January 2014.

In November 2012, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), seeking to ensure that the State offers a HSE test that is both affordable and accessible. In March 2012, the State announced that the winning bidder was CTB/McGraw Hill and that new HSE test would be the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or the TASC.
The TASC will be composed of five sections – English Language Arts Reading, English Language Arts Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies – and will phase in alignment with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) between 2014 and 2016.

The test will be available in both paper-based and computer-based format. However, based on findings that test centers and preparation programs do not have sufficient computer capacity for all tests to be administered by computer in 2014, NYSED decided to phase in the use of the computer-based format. In 2014, CTB/McGraw Hill will provide up to 20% of the tests on computer; in 2015, up to 40% of the tests will be provided on computer; and in 2016, up to 60% of the tests will be provided on computer. NYSED will determine the actual number of tests available on computer each year based on an assessment of the State’s readiness for the transition to a computer-based test.

OHCD’S WORK

In collaboration with city and state stakeholders, OHCD is helping New York City prepare for this transition in order to maximize the number of people able to take the HSE test and increase the success of test-takers.  In particular, OHCD:

  1. Co-wrote and co-signed a letter sent to 4,829 people who have passed some but not all of the existing GED®, urging them to retake the remaining portions before their scores expire.
  2. Supported the “2013 GED® Campaign to the Finish” organized by the Fund for Public Advocacy.
  3. Consulted with the New York State Education Department, New York City Department of Education, CUNY, nine city agencies, three libraries, test preparation providers, professional development organizations and other stakeholders to discuss concerns, identify priorities and assess emerging issues.
  4. Presented to the NYC Workforce Funders in order to raise awareness about system needs such as communications, professional development, and technological infrastructure.