GED® or HiSet?

On Friday January 20, First Literacy held an information session about two nationally recognized standardized tests that offer high school equivalency credentialing: the new GED® test and HiSet. The room was packed, which reinforced our assessment that many programs and teachers have questions about which test is best suited for their students. Both tests are now accepted by programs funded by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

This information session reflected a “just in time” response to needs we hear from teachers. At the First Friday Professional Development Workshops and Teachers’ Circles, we keep our ears attuned to what teachers are asking for, and we intend to continue responding as fully as possible.

Tom Mechem, State Chief Examiner at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Scott Salesses, State Relationship Manager at GED® Testing Service, gave presentations about each test and answered questions from participants. Each of their PowerPoints is posted on the Resources for Educators page of our website; you can also find a useful document that illustrates the comparison between the two tests. From our menu of options on the home page, click on Resources, then choose For Educators. Scroll down to Teaching ABE/ASE and select All You Need to Know About the GED and What it Means for Massachusetts Programs. 

In short, the content of the new (revised 2014) GED® test is more aligned with College and Career Readiness Standards and offers a range of scores with different outcomes. For example, at certain participating colleges, the highest scores give students college credits. Since the GED® is an online test, with no paper and pencil option, students need to be proficient in basic computer skills to handle the content. HiSet is available in paper and pencil. Both tests offer accommodations.

The contact information for Tom and Scott is included on the PowerPoints if you have questions about what you read there.

If you’d like to get information about our workshops, please send Lenore Balliro an email at with your name and email address, or click here. We won’t share it with anyone else without your permission.