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GED®, TASC™, or HiSET®? What is the Difference?

GED®, TASC™, or HiSET®? What is the Difference?

In 2011, the American Council on Education, the creators of the GED test, teamed up with Pearson VUE to revise the test and update it for modern needs, including alignment with the Common Core State Standards. When it was announced that the new 2014 version of the test would be computer-based and had a price increase, states started looking for alternatives. Because states and jurisdictions are in charge of issuing the high school equivalency credential, they are free to find alternatives. Two competitors to the GED test, the TASC and the HiSET program, entered the market at the beginning of the year, with a selection of states choosing one or more of the three options for their needs.

The 2014 GED Test

The new GED test assesses four subject areas: reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, science, and social studies. Depending on what state you are in the test offers two discounted or free retakes. Because all testing is done by computer, scores are available within three hours of completion, and the variety of question items has been expanded to more interactive methods like drag-and-drop. Writing has become a larger component of the exam, there are still two extended responses, one in language arts and one in social studies, and there has been an addition of a short answer question in the science section. Testing is completed at state-approved testing centers. Additionally, the GED Testing Service has released a predictive practice test to help learners determine if they are prepared for the full exam, GED Ready™.

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The Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC, is available both online and on paper. Testers can theoretically take the test anywhere, depending on their state’s rules. The TASC exam tests the same subject areas as the old 2002 GED test, meaning testers can combine scores from previously taken GED tests and the TASC, and the cost of the exam includes two free retakes. The test will be phasing in Common Core content over the next three years, which also helps its compatibility to the old GED test. Score reporting will be instantaneous if the online option is used. Scores are available in 10 days for the paper test.


The High School Equivalency Test, HiSET, also tests the five subject areas of the former 2002 GED test and the TASC, and the cost of the exam also includes two free retakes. It is also available online and via paper, but testing locations are left to the states to decide. The only major difference between the TASC and the HiSET is how they are approaching implementing Common Core. The HiSET exam is currently aligned to the new standards with a second phase planned that will better align with instructional programs once they themselves align with the new standards.

Want to learn more about how Edmentum Adult + HigherEd can provide resources to help your learners prepare for the GED, TASC, or HiSET exams? Check out our High School Equivalency Diagnostic Intervention Solution!


GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED Testing Service LLC under license.

TASC and Test Assessing Secondary Completion are trademarks of McGraw-Hill Education. Copyright © 2014 by CTB/McGraw-Hill LLC.

HiSET® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service (ETS). Edmentum products are not endorsed or approved by ETS.