To HiSET or Not to HiSET? That Is the New Question

To HiSET or Not to HiSET? That Is the New Question

HiSET is coming to Minnesota, which means we are no longer just a GED state but a multiple High School Equivalency (HSE) opportunity state. The HiSET is a computer-based test that reflects skills needed of a high school graduate and is comparable to the GED. Both tests allow qualified individuals to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma. HSE Diplomas, once earned, can help test takers gain higher paying wages and allow entrance into post-secondary institutions for additional credentials or degrees.

This is the first of several upcoming articles about the HiSET and how it will become another high school equivalency option in Minnesota Adult Education.

Some Key HiSET Facts

The HiSET has been operational since January 2014, is recognized by the US Department of Education, and has been adopted by 30 states and US territories as the sole HSE test or one of two HSE tests with a state-issued credential.

The full HiSET battery consists of 5 tests: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science, and Math. Test takers must reach a minimum score of 8 out of 20 on each test and a minimum score of 2 out of 6 on the essay portion within the writing section. The total number of points needed to pass the HiSET is 45 out of 100 – so even though a test taker could earn a score of 8 in each section, that does not mean an overall pass without a total score of 45+.

Check out this 2019 snapshot of HiSET test takers.

The Minnesota Pilot

Ten to twelve testing centers from Minnesota ABE programs will pilot the HiSET at the start of October so that we can begin to gather evidence about best practices and student performance. The goal is that by the new year, more testing centers will add the HiSET, giving more students around Minnesota the option to choose which HSE direction they would prefer. The list of the pilot test centers will be available in a couple of weeks.

Save the Dates!

Some good news is that the HiSET and GED tests are very comparable, so much of what programs do now to prepare students for the GED will also work to prepare students for the HiSET. There are webinars coming up in September and October that you don’t want to miss if you want to learn more about the HiSET tests and how they compare with the GED.

Upcoming HiSET Webinars

First are the debriefing webinars in September, where we’ll discuss trends in what colleagues have seen so far when taking the official practice tests and ways we may need to adjust our teaching to accommodate differences between the HiSET and GED (hint: the essay requirements are different!).

  • HiSET Official Practice Tests Debriefing Webinar 1 (Math & Science): September 14 @ 2:00-3:30 pm
  • HISET Official Practice Tests Debriefing Webinar 2 (Reading, Writing & Social Studies: September 19 @ 2:00-3:30 pm

Then in October, Adam Springwater from HiSET will conduct three “Deep Dive” webinars with practical examples and strategies for improving test taker pass rates. REGISTER NOW for one, two or all three!

  • PART 1 – HiSET Deep Dive Reading/Social Studies/Science: October 10 @  2:00-4:00 pm
  • PART 2 – HiSET Deep Dive Writing: October 24 @ 2:00-4:00 pm
  • PART 3 – HiSET Deep Dive Math: October 31 @ 2:00-4:00 pm

More HiSET Information

Keep your eye on the MN ABE Connect newsletter for more HiSET news and information.

For questions about HiSET implementation in MN Adult Education, please contact Brandy Logan at [email protected].

Brandy Logan, Adult High School Equivalency and Accountability Specialist Minnesota Department of Education
Kristine Kelly, Literacy Coordinator ATLAS