Obtaining a high school diploma has become a crucial milestone in the life of most students. It opens various avenues for them, giving them leverage in the education and job market. Unfortunately, not all students are able to complete their high school due to various reasons, be it ill health, family problems, financial issues, or something else.
The good news is there are alternative paths to achieving high school equivalency without needing to complete two years of high school. There are several prominent options in the United States such as GED, TASC, HiSET, and CHSPE.
Given the fact that there are so many options, students are often confused about which test would be the best for them. In this guide, we’ll delve into the differences and similarities between two such equivalency exams: TASC and GED, to help you make an informed decision about which test suits your goals.
What is TASC?
The TASC exam, which is also known as Test Assessing Secondary Completion, was a high school equivalency test in the United States. Initially, it was designed as an alternative to prominent equivalency tests such as GED (General Educational Development) for individuals who did not complete high school but wish to earn an equivalent credential.
This test was developed by McGraw Hill Education and administered by Data Recognition Corporation. It was adopted by various states such as New York in 2014 as a way to incorporate the changes in the education system and make the exam more accessible to a large number of students.
TASC tests the student’s skills and knowledge in subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. Since December 2021, TASC has been discontinued and people are choosing various other alternatives for the same.
What is a GED?
The GED is an acronym for General Educational Development, a high school equivalency test by the American Council on Education (ACE). The program was created in 1942 to provide military veterans returning from World War an opportunity to display their academic skills and knowledge. The GED test covers subjects like mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science.
Over the years, the GED test has undergone significant revisions to ensure it remains a reliable measure to determine whether the test-takers have high school-level knowledge. A significant revision occurred in 2014 when the GED test became more rigorous to assess a student’s knowledge of fundamental concepts and their college and career readiness.
TASC versus GED: All you need to know
In this section, we will look at the key differences that exist between TASC and GED.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing between the TASC and GED is the test content. Although both subjects cover four core areas: reasoning through language arts mathematics, science, and social studies, their approach to questioning differs.
TASC: The TASC assesses critical thinking and problem-solving skills and is fairly similar to GED. It was divided into five subsets. Here’s a breakdown of the syllabus:
- Mathematics: algebra, functions, numbers, statistics, probability, geometry
- Science: life science, earth science, space science, physical science
- Social studies: history, civics, geography, economics
- Reading: reading and answering questions pertaining to informational texts, seminal foundational texts, and literary texts.
- Writing: The writing section involves essay writing.
GED: The GED has rigorous content, which is designed with the test-taker’s educational and career prospects in mind.
- Reasoning through language arts (RLA): reading comprehension, essay writing, grammar.
- Mathematics: basic arithmetic, algebra, graphs, and geometry.
- Science: life science, earth science, space science, physical science
- Social studies: history, civics, geography, and economics
The format of the TASC and GED tests was another crucial consideration when making a choice.
TASC: The TASC was administered in both paper-based and computer-based formats. The emphasis was on promoting digital literacy so computer-based formats were encouraged. The exam took around 8 hours to complete and you can spread it out over a few days, taking up one subset at a time.
GED: GED is an entirely computer-based exam. It takes around 7 hours and 45 minutes to complete and you do not have to give it at one stretch but have the luxury of spreading it out over a few days.
Understanding the marking system followed by the TASC and GED tests is important to gauge your performance.
TASC: the TASC used a scale of 300-800 points for each subject area. You need a minimum of 500 points to pass each subset.
GED: The GED uses a scoring scale of 100-200 points for each subject test. To pass each subject test, you generally need to score at least 145. However, if you get above 175 points in each subject, you get a GED college-ready plus credit score.
One of the most important reasons people pursue high school equivalency tests such as TASC and GED is to improve their career and educational prospects.
TASC: The TASC was recognized by various states across the United States such as Indiana and New York, where it was chosen as an alternative to GED. However, since it has been discontinued, it is no longer recognized by any state.
If you have already given TASC. your scores will be converted to GED or HiSET.
GED: The GED is one of the most widely accepted credentials by colleges, universities, and employers across the United States.
The GED is now one of the most widely accepted high school equivalency exams alongside HiSET. There are various coaching centers that train students to pass this exam, but a large number of students choose to prepare for it at home.
TASC was never as widely accepted as GED. Before it was discontinued in 2021, it was only recognized by limited states such as New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi, Indiana, and Nevada among others.
6. Passing Criteria
To earn your high school equivalency credential, you must meet the passing criteria set by the TASC or GED testing program. This is determined by the score you achieve out of the overall score.
TASC: For this exam, you need to score a minimum of 500 points in each subject. The score ranged from a scale of 300 to 800. You had to score a minimum of 2 out of 8 for the essay. For the paper-based format, the scores took up to 10 days but for the computerized form, it is available instantly.
GED: You need to score at least 145 out of the overall score of 200 in each subject to pass the test. The scores for GED are usually available within a few hours since it is a computerized exam.
Why was TASC discontinued?
The TASC exam was discontinued because Data Recognition Corporation withdrew its support. The states that facilitated the exam and accepted the TASC scores were duly notified. Besides, students were given full assistance in converting their TASC scores into GED or HiSET, depending on the state they come from.
There is no dearth of high school equivalency exams but it is important to choose one that aligns with your career goals and educational prospects. You no longer have TASC as an option but can choose between GED and HiSET. To make an informed choice, do a comparative analysis between the two keeping in mind your aspirations, location, and personal preference.
For instance, GED is known to have an easier math portion than HiSET and HiSET has a more comprehensive language portion. So, take your time to do thorough research and consider reaching out to people who have taken the exam. Prepare a study plan, engage in goal-setting activities, and stick to it – we are sure you will pass with flying colors!
Having a 10+ years of experience in teaching little budding learners, I am now working as a soft skills and IELTS trainers. Having spent my share of time with high schoolers, I understand their fears about the future. At the same time, my experience has helped me foster plenty of strategies that can make their 4 years of high school blissful. Furthermore, I have worked intensely on helping these young adults bloom into successful adults by training them for their dream colleges. Through my blogs, I intend to help parents, educators and students in making these years joyful and prosperous.