Historically, the GED high school equivalency test was taken by about 800,000 students per year of whom about 560,000 per year passed. However, in 2014, only 60 students in the US passed the GED test for a 90% drop in the number of students passing this test.
The reason for this huge drop is that in January 2014, a for profit corporation called Pearson took over the GED test and made it significantly harder to pass. Pearson has claimed that it is “normal” for test results to decline when a new test is introduced. However, the decline has never been anything close to this bad. For example, there was only a 50% decline when the last new test was introduced in 2002 in Washington State:
Nationally, there was hardly any change in the GED pass rate from 2001 to 2002 compared to the huge plunge in 2014:
Thankfully, there are two other options to the 2014 Pearson GED test. These are the HiSET and TASC high school equivalency tests. The following table shows that the HiSET test is a much fairer test and is similar to the 2002 to 2013 GED test.
Because the HiSET and TASC tests offer several benefits over the Pearson GED test, many States have moved away from the Pearson GED test monopoly in the past two years. This is a summary of those changes in 2013 and 2014.
High School Equivalency Test Option Changes during 2013
As of January 1, 2014, 10 States offered the HiSET as an option to the Pearson GED Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, Maine Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Several of these States moved entirely to the HiSET test. https://www.ets.org/newsroom/news_releases/new_jersey_state_approve
As of January 1, 2014, the TASC high school equivalency test had replaced the Pearson GED in four States: Illinois, Indiana, New York and West Virginia. New Jersey elected to allow students to use either the Pearson, HiSET or TASC test.
During 2013, 14 States moved away from the Pearson GED monopoly. Here is a map of those 14 States:
High School Equivalency Test Option Changes during 2014
In February 2014, Massachusetts added the HiSET as an option and in August 2014, California added HiSET as an option. Thus, as of January 1 2015, there are 12 States offering HiSET as a High School Equivalency test option. https://www.ets.org/newsroom/news_releases/california_becomes_state_approve
During 2014, 3 more states, California, Nevada and Wyoming were added to the five States already offering the TASC test. Thus, there are currently 8 States offering the TASC test. Four of these States also offer the HiSET test as an option.
During 2014, 2 more States offered their students an option to the Pearson GED (California and Massachusetts). In 2015, 4 more states rejected the Pearson test monopoly including Colorado and Texas. Thus, there are currently 20 States offering students a choice of tests but still 30 States that do not offer their students an option. Here is a map of those 20 States:
Given that about 500,000 students were harmed in 2014 by the unfair Pearson GED test, and another 500,000 students were harmed in 2015 by the unfair Pearson GED test, our hope is that in 2016 more State legislatures will adopt the HiSET and or TASC test as an option to the Pearson GED test. Feel free to email us with questions or comments about this article.
David Spring M. Ed.
Restore GED Fairness (dot) org