Overview of Diploma Equivalency in NY
Although the General Educational Development (GED) exam was used previously by the State of New York, a change was made in 2014 to move to the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC. To help bridge the transition, individuals who passed sections of the GED up through 2013 may be able to apply as many as four of those toward the TASC to avoid having to re-test in that same subject area.
The TASC is set up to match College and Career Readiness standards so that studying for and passing the test is useful for employment or for further education. Earning a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma can help open doors for those who don't earn a traditional high school diploma, and it's a path that quite a few adults make use of. In fact, according to the New York State Education Department (NYSED), one out of 20 college freshmen had earned an equivalent diploma rather than a traditional one.
What is the Format?
The New York TASC has five sections: reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. The math test is broken into two parts, one of which does not allow for use of a calculator. The test is offered on paper or on computer; either way, the test is taken at an official testing center. Students should check with their local testing site for details on computer vs. paper options. New York offers the exam in English and Spanish.
Taking all of the subject tests on the same day would require approximately nine hours. The test sections can be taken one at a time, but first time test-takers are encouraged to take all five sections together to help assess strengths and weaknesses. Once an individual passes a section, he or she won't be required to retake that section later.
How is the TASC Scored and What if I Don't Pass?
The passing score for each section of the TASC is 500 (out of a possible 800), so a total score of at least 2,500 is the minimum needed for all sections combined. Additionally, the writing portion requires a 2 out of a possible 8 on the writing prompts. New York allows you to take each part of the exam three times in each calendar year. You can retake portions that you did not pass, and can also retake the sections you did pass in order to increase your score. Only your highest score stands, so if you score lower the second time, that score will not be made official.
Who is Eligible?
New York's eligibility requirements differ according to age. Those 19 or older simply provide proof of in-state residency (for at least 30-days), age and identity. The requirements are more elaborate for individuals who wish to take the test when they are 16-18 years of age. Details are spelled out on the New York State Education Department website (www.nysed.gov); see the Adult Career and Continuing Education department's page. The test is not offered to individuals younger than 16.
How do I Register for the TASC and What Will it Cost?
To register for the TASC you need to download and fill out an application and, as mentioned above, be able to prove your identity at the testing center with a valid driver's license or other photo identification that has your name, address, birthdate and a signature. NYSED's main site provides both downloadable applications and detailed identification policies.
How do I Prepare?
There are a number of options for preparing to take the TASC in New York. Online help is available 24/7 in the form of videos on demand and online lessons. Some public television channels offer resources, and study materials are also available. A video explaining the process of preparing for and taking the TASC is also offered. See the Adult Education Programs tab on the NYSED website for links to the various resources.