Maine announces move to new high school equivalency exam

AUGUSTA – In an effort to better support the college and career readiness of all Mainers, the State has chosen a new high school equivalency assessment provider.

Beginning in 2014, Maine will offer the ETS high school equivalency test, known as 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.

Maine opted to move away from the GED in response to that provider’s projected three-fold cost increase and decision to deliver the new version of their test by computer only starting in 2014. Leaders in the adult education community expressed concerns that the 76 testing sites across the state were not prepared for that transition.

In addition to the new test delivery format and more rigorous questions had Maine stuck with GED, any scores from GED subject area tests taken before January of 2014 would not count toward completion, meaning students would have to start all over again.

Instead, ETS was chosen by the State through a competitive RFP process because they offered both a paper-based and computerized test. As soon as testing sites are technologically prepared to transition over to solely computerized-testing, they hope to do so, said Maine Department of Education Adult Education Director Gail Senese.

The new assessment offered by ETS will cost the State $50, but have no cost to the test-taker.  Up to two retests are included within 12 months at no additional cost.

Those who are already underway with the current GED battery will be able to integrate their sub-test scores into the new assessment, but Senese said the State is encouraging  Mainers to move forward on completion so they can move on with their employment and post-secondary goals.

While “GED” and “high school equivalency assessment” are used interchangeably, more and more states are moving away from that provider as others have entered the market. In recent months, New Hampshire, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Tennessee have joined Maine in choosing HiSET.

For more information about Maine’s high school equivalency credential, visit www.maine.gov/doe/adult.