Get the facts about High School Equivalency

In our field, it's important to have accurate information about what high school equivalency, or HSE, means. One common misperception is that someone who did not graduate from high school can "earn a GED®."

The GED® is a test brand, not a credential. Only a state can issue a HSE credential. In fact, a state issues a HSE certificate or diploma after an individual passes a rigorous HSE test demonstrating high school-level academic proficiency.

Now there are multiple HSE tests available

The GED®, from Pearson VUE™ and the American Council on Education (ACE®), is one such test, but now there are other options available — including the HiSET® exam from ETS. A state agency selects which test or tests it uses. Some states select one test, while others use multiple options.

Is there confusion in your organization or program regarding HSE?

Because the GED® test was the only test available for decades, some organizations and programs may not be aware of the testing choices in the market and how credentials are earned.

In order to provide individuals without a diploma the best opportunities to succeed, it is important to ensure the terminology used in communications from Adult Education entities is up to date and accurate.

The checklist below provides examples of places where the term “GED®” might be confused with “HSE” and should be updated:

  • Outreach and recruitment documents
  • Websites
  • Employment applications
  • Education programs, including higher education admissions documentation┬á
  • Training programs
  • Internship, apprenticeship and occupational credential programs
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