New test, same No. 2 pencil
February 28, 2014
Rather than give up the No. 2 pencil, Douglas County switched to a new high school equivalency test.
After 71 years dominating the field, Douglas gave the old GED exam the heave-ho after the company decided to only offer it on computer.
The new test, known as the HiSet High School Equivalency Test was adopted by the state two years ago, according to Douglas County Adult Education Program lead instructor and program facilitator Gaye Tyndall.
"The GED was only offered on the computer starting Jan. 1," she said. "Some of the students we're dealing with are not computer proficient, it might be hard for them to take the test on the computer."
That doesn't mean they can't take the test on computer, just that they have the option of using paper and pencil.
Another reason to switch tests was that the GED, which is administered by the American Council on Education and stands for general educational development, has started preparing their new test using common core standards.
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Tyndall said the HiSet will eventually adopt Common Core, but not yet.
"These students were not in school when Common Core was the standard," she said. "HiSet was a real natural choice, I think. It offers both pencil and paper, and computer testing."
The HiSet is produced by Educational Testing Service, which also makes the ACT, GRE and other standardized tests.
"The questions are worded well, and offered in English and Spanish."
Tyndall said the test takes seven hours and two nights to complete.
The first set of five students took the test on Feb. 10 and 12, starting out with writing and math, then finishing up doing reading, science and social studies.
Preparation for the test is conducted through the Adult Education Program, which is under the ASPIRE program.
"I worked at Douglas High for 30 years, was retired nine days, and then asked to run the adult program," Tyndall said. "This is the most rewarding job I've ever had."
Tyndall works with counselor and Chief Testing Examiner Betsy Eichner and Credit Recovery Instructor Don Johnson.
Taking the test costs $65, but preparing for it is free to Douglas County residents.
"You can show up at the school Monday or Wednesday, at 5 p.m., or call the ASPIRE number," she said.
Those interested in checking out the test can visit the website, http://www.hiset.ets.org.
Tyndall said prospects are given a practice test, which is half the length of the original, which will give instructors an idea about how well they'll do.
"Either they can just get the diploma and be done, or go for their adult diploma," she said. "The test tells them what credits they need. We offer remediation A+ computer program specific program and assess the areas they need to work on."