There’s More Than One Path to High School Equivalency

With the recent news of the decline of GED test takers in Texas, we wanted to provide information on options for obtaining high school equivalency certification.

Texas ranks 50th in the United States in percentage of the adult population with a high school education [i]. Close to 3 million Texans are without a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency; that equates to about 18% of the adult population of Texas lacking secondary education credentials.

There are several ways to successfully reach this important educational benchmark when traditional high school or homeschool isn’t an option. Earning a high school equivalency goes far beyond personal goals or celebratory milestones. Over 70% of employers nationwide require a high school diploma, or its equivalent, as a prerequisite for employment. Those who haven’t received a high school diploma or equivalent have a higher unemployment rate. Earning a certificate of high school equivalency opens the door for individuals to make up to 31% more annually.

We've gathered information about each test from their official testing website but the state of Texas sets specific requirements which are periodically revised. Always check current state requirements before testing.

Texas Education Agency has three approved tests for receiving a Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxCHSE):


[i] Villanueva, Chandra, and Katherine Strandberg. “Texas Has a GED Problem: Alternative Paths to High School Equivalency.” Center for Public Policy Priorities, 16 July 2015, forabettertexas.org.

GED

General Education Development (GED)

Company: GED Testing Service, a joint venture between American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson VUE

URL: https://ged.com/

Cost & fees: $145 ($36.25 per module)

Passing score: Students must have a passing score at or above 145 to pass each module.

Content and time allotment:

Reasoning through Language Arts: 150 minutes

Mathematical Reasoning: 115 minutes

Social Studies: 70 minutes

Science: 90 minutes

Structure & Testing version: Student schedules each section separately, all tests must be taken in an approved testing center, computer based testing only.

Retesting: Retakes allowed on each module for an additional fee; after 2 unsuccessful retests of any one subject, students must wait 60 days to do an additional retest.

Pre-requisites: Must meet state of Texas testing requirements:

  • A current resident of Texas
  • Must not be enrolled in high school (unless it's a TEA approved high school equivalency program) and must not possess a high school diploma from anywhere in the United States
  • Must be 18 years old
    • Students may test at 17 years old with parental consent (no parental consent need if declared an independent adult through self attestation, marriage, military service, or by the court)
    • Students may test at 16 years old if recommended by a public agency having supervision or custody under a court order, enrolled in a Job Corps training program, OR enrolled in the Texas Military Department's Texas ChalleNGe Academy program

TASC

Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)

Company: Data Recognition Corporation, or DRC

URL: http://www.tasctest.com/

Cost & fees: $124

Passing score: 500 points on each section to pass, must score a minimum of 2 out of 8 points on the essay prompt to pass writing section. Credential given once each section is successfully passed.

Content and time allotment:

Math: 105 minutes

Part 1, with calculator - 55 minutes

15 minute break

Part 2, without calculator - 50 minutes

Writing: 105 minutes (including 45 minutes for essay writing)

Reading: 75 minutes

Science: 85 minutes

Social Studies: 75 minutes

Structure & Testing version: Multiple choice on all tests, additional essay prompt on language arts - writing test. Available on paper, computer, large print, audio, and braille.

Retesting: Retesting allowed for failed sections.

Pre-requisites: Must meet state of Texas testing requirements:

  • A current resident of Texas
  • Must not be enrolled in high school (unless it's a TEA approved high school equivalency program) and must not possess a high school diploma from anywhere in the United States
  • Must be 18 years old
    • Students may test at 17 years old with parental consent (no parental consent need if declared an independent adult through self attestation, marriage, military service, or by the court)
    • Students may test at 16 years old if recommended by a public agency having supervision or custody under a court order, enrolled in a Job Corps training program, OR enrolled in the Texas Military Department's Texas ChalleNGe Academy program

HiSET

High School Equivalency Test (HiSET)

Company: Educational Testing Service, or ETS

URL: https://hiset.ets.org/

Cost & fees: $125

Passing score: Cumulative score of 45 (out of 100) on all 5 exams. Each exam requires 8 out of 20 points to pass; the essay section requires a minimum 2 out of 6 points to pass.

Content and time allotment:

Language Arts - Reading: 65 minutes

Language Arts - Writing: 120 minutes

Mathematics: 90 minutes

Science: 80 minutes

Social Studies: 70 minutes

Structure & Testing version: Multiple choice on all tests, additional essay question on language arts - writing test. Students may take either paper or computer test and can change version based on what section they’re taking.

Retesting: No additional fees if taken within 12 months; each subject can be retested 3 times per calendar year.

Pre-requisites: Must meet state of Texas testing requirements:

  • A current resident of Texas
  • Must not be enrolled in high school (unless it's a TEA approved high school equivalency program) and must not possess a high school diploma from anywhere in the United States
  • Must be 18 years old
    • Students may test at 17 years old with parental consent (no parental consent need if declared an independent adult through self attestation, marriage, military service, or by the court)
    • Students may test at 16 years old if recommended by a public agency having supervision or custody under a court order, enrolled in a Job Corps training program, OR enrolled in the Texas Military Department's Texas ChalleNGe Academy program

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