Research & Policy
Policy Matters Ohio

Governor proposes smart reforms to high school equivalency exam

May 18, 2016

Governor proposes smart reforms to high school equivalency exam

May 18, 2016

 New testing options needed in face of GED collapse in Ohio.

For immediate release

Contact: Hannah Halbert, 614.397.6080

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Gov. John Kasich is proposing needed reforms in the state’s troubled GED system by adding two new high school equivalency-testing options beside the GED for those who want a diploma.

“We are thrilled to see the governor proposing these smart and much-needed reforms,” said Policy Matters Ohio researcher Hannah Halbert, “They will help Ohioans get the education they need and help employers find trained workers.”

A Policy Matters report in February documented barriers that caused the number of Ohioans passing the GED to plummet 85 percent after Pearson Vue, the world’s largest private for-profit education corporation, took over the test. Pearson tripled the cost to $120; began requiring online registration and computer-based test taking; and made the test more complex.

“After seeing the number passing the GED collapse, we called on policymakers to give Ohioans a choice," said Halbert. “Cost, computer literacy, and testing structure should not be barriers to Ohioans seeking to better their life. Expanding high school equivalency testing options is the right call for Ohio.”

If the proposal passes, Ohio will join about 22 other states in adopting testing alternatives. Most have adopted a combination of the GED and other tests called the HiSET and the TASC. The alternative testing products are less expensive and generally more accessible than the GED.

To enable the programs delivering test-prep services to take full advantage of this new opportunity, the state should ensure sufficient funding in the Adult Basic Education and Literacy network. Additionally, the state should evaluate how it can best access and analyze test-taker data across testing products to better target assistance and ensure these products are meeting the needs of test-takers and employers alike.

“Expanding options will help restore our high school equivalency system so that thousands of Ohioans can earn their diploma, document their skills, and make gains in the labor market,” Halbert said.

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Policy Matters Ohio is a non-partisan policy research institute

creating a more vibrant, equitable Ohio.

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