Many educators are preparing for a big change: The standard high school equivalency test, used since 2002, will not be available for retakes after December 31, 2013. What this means is that states across the U.S. must decide on a new test to implement. With several test providers from which to choose, and little time to make the choice, price, accessibility, flexibility, and quality have quickly become the overriding issues.
One assessment being offered, based on the old high school equivalency test, would cost more than double the original price per student. Plus, that test would only be only offered online as a computer-based assessment, in specially equipped testing centers. That meant the following for states rushing to make an important decision in a tight economy:
- States and students across the country would need to pay more than double the price for the test. For states subsidizing the test, that meant they could only serve half as many individuals who needed to take the test, since budget increases, shifting funds or raising taxes would be difficult to impossible.
- The states would need to retrofit hundreds of test centers before implementing the more costly online tests, many of which are located in incarcerated or institutionalized settings. Yet one more thing they could not afford. Plus many states do not even allow computers to be used in correctional setting, providing paper and pencil testing only.
The states faced an impossible choice. They needed to look elsewhere and fast. As early as 2012, CTB realized that there would be a sea change in education with the adoption of the new standards from Common Core and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). CTB understood it would mean a significant investment in a new nationally-normed assessment that would be ready by January, 2014. We created the national Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ or TASC™.
- TASC is Affordable: TASC was designed with an all-inclusive price of $54 per student, including scoring and other test materials. CTB wanted to keep the price as close as possible to the original pricing levels to make it affordable for as many as possible.
- TASC is Accessible: TASC could be given either as paper-and-pencil or online. That meant the existing test centers, already accessible to the people who needed to take the test, would work just as well as they had for the previous tests. No specialized facilities or equipment are needed to provide TASC.
- TASC is Smart: TASC is Common Core-aligned beginning with its official release in January, 2014. The test features a smart design that allows states to gradually transition from the foundational concepts of the Common Core to a deeper more complete alignment over a three year period. That meant TASC would work for the Education Department, administrators, teachers, test centers and test takers in every state.
To learn more about the reasons why TASC can work for any state looking for a new, affordable and accessible high school equivalency test, with a smarter approach to phasing in the Common Core State Standards, please visit CTB.com/TASC today.