Record number of Mainers earning high school credential

As Maine moves to a new high school equivalency exam, thousands looking to advance their career and post-secondary aspirations are completing the current GED® this year though doing so before 2014 is not required

AUGUSTA – A record high number of Mainers have earned their high school equivalency credential this year in advance of the State moving to a new exam provider starting in 2014.

Already in the first 10 months of 2013, 2,699 Mainers have successful completed their GED®, a significant increase over the 1,878 who did so in 2012 and the 2,258 who did so in 2011.

Maine Department of Education Director of Adult Education Gail Senese says the surge is a result of an aggressive awareness campaign by the Department in partnership with the Finance Authority of Maine that encourages credential completion prior to Maine’s move from the GED® to the Educational Testing Service High School Equivalency test, known as HiSET™, next year.

That change, applauded by Maine’s adult education community, was the result of GED® increasing their prices by more than double, only offering their test via computer and not allowing scores from GED® subject area tests taken before January of 2014 to count toward completion after that date, creating a hardship for test-takers who would have to start all over again

Through a competitive process, Maine DOE selected the HiSET™, which covers the same content areas as the current GED® and allows test-takers to demonstrate proficiency of the academic skills expected by employers and post-secondary institutions. The tests, paid for by the Maine DOE, will be offered via traditional paper and pencil or computer at 76 testing sites across the state.

While those already underway with the current GED® battery will be able to transfer their sub-test scores into the HiSET™, the State is encouraging test-takers to move forward on completion now so they can move on with their employment, post-secondary and personal goals.

To support that effort, many local testing sites have been offering special math marathons to prepare potential test-takers and holding expanded weekend hours for preparation and testing.  The close-out campaign has also included print, broadcast and social media promotion.

“While finishing by the end of the year is not required, it’s exciting to see so many Mainers have done so because of the doors we know this will open for them,” explained Senese.  “Whether it’s the potential for a new job, higher earnings or a college education, the opportunity to obtain a high school equivalency credential is a life-changing second chance that the Maine Department of Education is proud to help provide for thousands of Maine people each year.”

While “GED®” has become synonymous with “high school equivalency assessment,” more and more states are moving away from that provider for reasons similar to Maine’s. Maine is now one of nine states, including New Hampshire, transitioning to the HiSET™.

For more information about earning a high school equivalency credential, visit www.mainegednow.com.

-END-

3 responses to “Record number of Mainers earning high school credential

  1. Too bad students are still considered high school drop outs if they obtain GED’s instead of finishing the typical high school. Anytime, anywhere learning is not really anytime, anywhere even though we have kids who have gotten their GED and gone on to 2 and 4 year colleges or the service.

    • We give credit to those students who have found their way back into the educational system and have attained their GED. And we agree that anytime, anywhere learning should be an integral part of regular high school programming. The bigger question we should be asking is what is prompting students to leave high school, necessitating the need for a GED? There is nothing that prevents high schools from providing individualized programming through the regular high school curriculum. This is actually the foundation behind a proficiency-based diploma, which allows for more authentic demonstration of understanding and creates opportunities for more relevant and rigorous instruction, which actually motivates students to stay in school.

      • There are some students who continue not to thrive in the regular education program even when their program is individualized. Some just take a little time to find their way. Those that do come from our area will often try job core and get a GED or just try taking the GED. Some come back into the system for these things, and some we just guide to the right places. The ones that don’t reenroll continue to be considered drop outs, but we consider them a success because they went back and did something so they could move forward in life.

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