Regional Superintendents play key role in High School Equivalency
Send a link to a friend
[March 11, 2016]
- While politicians differ over specific programs, what’s not up for
debate is the core value of education. Education is a critical
stepping stone to financial security. Statistics from the U.S.
Department of Labor consistently show that those who have completed
a high school education earn significantly more than those who
don’t. And, in both good and bad economic times, those without a
diploma are much more likely to be unemployed. Today, with three
high school equivalency exams available in Illinois, students will
soon have more choices and opportunities to complete their high
Regional Office of Education #17, which serves all public and
private schools in Dewitt, Livingston, Logan and McLean Counties has
long played key roles in helping students secure a high school
diploma or its equivalent.
Regional Superintendent of Schools Mark Jontry said that one of the
greatest values of a high school equivalency certificate is that it
offers students a gateway to higher education, often through the
community college network. In fact, a 2010 study from the American
Council on Education revealed that more than 40% of those who
complete a high school equivalency exam enroll in college.
Jontry added that all ROEs in Illinois are responsible for issuing
certificates to those who successfully complete a high school
equivalency exam. They are also responsible for maintaining the
records for test-takers, which is critical for colleges and
employers who need to verify that a student or employee successfully
completed the exam.
For decades the term “GED®” was synonymous with high school
equivalency exams and was the standard test administered in almost
all states to determine high school equivalency. In fact, in
Illinois, the term was even written into state law. In 2011, the
administrator of the GED®, the American Council on Education,
entered into a joint venture with Pearson VUE, a private testing
company. That led to many states seeking alternative providers to
Beginning this year, Illinois moved from offering the GED® as the
only accepted high school equivalency exam to offering two other
options – the HiSET® or the TASC®.
While the test names may not be as familiar as GED®, both are
offered by firms well known in the education community. The HiSET®
(High School Equivalency Test) was developed by Educational Testing
Service and the TASC® (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) by CTB/McGraw
Hill. Not all tests are available in all areas of Illinois, but the
number of testing sites that offer a choice has been increasing and
is expected to continue to grow.
The new tests are available in both computer-based format and
paper/pencil options, allowing students greater flexibility in how
they take the exams. Heartland Community College is the test
administrator for this region.
[to top of second column]
High school equivalency testing has been in the news recently, in
part because of a decision by the owners of one of the most
well-known exams, the GED®, to adjust their scoring to allow for
more students to receive certification.
In announcing the adjustment, GED® Testing Service, a joint venture between the
American Council on Education and Pearson VUE, explained that they were
recalibrating the required scores for passing the exam to more accurately
reflect the educational attainment of high school graduates.
That’s important, according to Jeff Vose, president of the Illinois Association
of Regional Superintendents of Schools and Regional Superintendent for Sangamon
and Menard counties.
“These tests are designed to accurately reflect the equivalent of a high school
diploma,” Vose said. “If the test is too difficult, it’s not fair to the
student. But, at the same time, if the test is too easy, it would erode the
value of the certificate and that’s not fair to the student either.”
“When we issue the certificate, we need to be confident that it truly reflects
that the student has demonstrated the equivalent of a high school diploma,” Vose
Competition has entered the testing market and today’s students often have
choices in selecting an exam.
For more information about high school equivalency, please visit www.roe17.org.
[Victoria Padilla, Assistant to the
Regional Superintendent, Regional Office of Education #17]