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New high school equivalency diploma test to replace GED® in Iowa next year


Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Iowa Department of Education announced a new test that will replace the GED® in 2014 as the assessment required to earn a state-issued high school equivalency diploma.

The new test, developed by the nonprofit ETS, will be more affordable for Iowans and is aligned with statewide standards for what students in kindergarten through 12th grade are expected to learn in English language arts and math. The new test, called HiSET, was chosen in Iowa through a competitive-bidding process.

“As expectations rise for high school graduates in terms of college and career readiness, the expectations for adult learners will rise, too,” said D.T. Magee, interim director of the Iowa Department of Education. “The new assessment will help ensure that students are prepared for the demands of our 21st century workforce.”

Iowans who have started the GED® any time since 2002 must move quickly to finish the testing series to avoid starting the assessment process over again. GED® Testing Service is phasing out its 2002 testing series at the end of 2013. The last official testing date in Iowa is Dec. 13.

GED® Testing Service, which traditionally has been the only provider of assessments that count toward a state-issued high school equivalency diploma, shifted from a nonprofit to a for-profit enterprise in 2012, which prompted several assessment vendors to begin competing to provide the service in states.

HiSET, Iowa’s new high school equivalency test, was chosen by a state selection committee made up of education leaders from community colleges and the Iowa Department of Education.

“Our top priority has been to choose an assessment that is the right fit for Iowa, regardless of the provider,” said Jeremy Varner, administrator of the department’s Division of Community Colleges.

Iowa test-takers will pay far less to take HiSET in 2014. The cost will be $50, with no charge for re-testing within a year. The 2014 GED® testing series will cost $120.  

“The savings to Iowans are important because we know that cost can be a barrier for people who want to earn a high school equivalency diploma,” Varner said.

Students will be able to take HiSET either in paper-pencil format or online throughout Iowa starting in Jan. 2014. Online registration will open later this year.

Online exams initially will be available at the state’s 15 community colleges, and online testing sites will expand over time.

The paper version of HiSET will be offered at all current GED® testing locations in Iowa starting Jan. 2, 2014. Those locations can be found on the following map online:

Iowans who need to finish the 2002 GED® testing series by Dec. 13 can access the same map to find a local testing site.

About ETS: ETS conducts assessment and policy research and develops assessments and related services to advance quality and equity in learning worldwide. ETS also is the maker of the GRE® Tests, the Praxis Series Tests, and the TOEFL® Test. Visit for more information.

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on December 15, 2017 at 2:11am.