When the GED® Testing Service announced the elimination of their paper-based tests, many higher education leaders worried that even in an age where digital literacy is key, adult learners would be further marginalized by this online platform. These students simply don’t have access to the technology so many take for granted. Not only would the test be less accessible, but the new version nearly doubles in price to $120, making affordability another issue for low income groups.
With these changes in mind, states asked CTB/McGraw-Hill to develop the Test Assessing Secondary Completion™, or TASC™. As states like New York, Indiana, Nevada, and Wyoming select TASC as an official high school equivalency exam, there have been a few claims made about the test and how it measures up to the its competition.
According to Inside Higher Ed, the GED’s new owners said the new entrants are “cheap knockoffs” of their current test. They’re right in that TASC is less expensive, but a knockoff? Let’s see: TASC lets educators and students continue to use paper and pencil, and it gives states choice and control over their testing programs. Plus it lets educators and students ramp up to a new set of challenging standards that today’s K-12 system isn’t expected to fully know yet, and it does all of this without sacrificing today’s need to reach a higher standard. That doesn’t sound like much of a knockoff.
Here’s what you need to know about the TASC advantage:
TASC Provides a Well-Planned Transition to the Common Core
TASC’s gradual transition to full Common Core State Standard item types from 2014 to 2016 has been its hallmark. First, items will gradually increase in Depth of Knowledge (DOK) rigor over three years, helping students and educators keep focused on the fundamentals. Second, we will be introducing innovative computer item types over this same timeframe, helping students and educators become more comfortable with computer-based tests and the necessary skills needed to take them.
TASC is Accessible
TASC can be taken at any state-approved testing site, and is available in both paper-and-pencil and online formats. This ensures that the test is available to as many people as possible without traveling long distances, or causing test centers to renovate in order to provide the online version of the test.
TASC is Affordable
The base price of the exam is $52 per student, which includes scoring and other essential documents. Price subsidies will vary by state, but the price has been kept as close as possible to previous pricing levels.
TASC is Flexible
TASC does not require the use of particular testing centers to administer the computer-based exam, which helps states maintain control over their high school equivalency testing programs. As long as a testing center has its state’s approval, it can follow most of the processes already in place for either computer- or paper-based tests.