High School Equivalency [HSE]

Did you know that you can't earn a GED?

No, really, it's true.

What you can do is take a test like the GED, HiSET, or TASC to earn a High School Equivalency [HSE] credential from the State of Michigan.  This credential is recognized in every state in the U.S.

[Please note that TASC was offered in Michigan from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020 only.]

Warren Woods Adult Education can help prepare you for taking a High School Equivalency test.  We also offer HiSET testing on a limited, appointment-only basis.

The State of Michigan allows Michiganders to take two of the High School Equivalency (HSE) tests to earn their credential - the GED® or the HiSET®.

At Warren Woods Adult Education, we like to compare HSE tests to tissues.  Do you know how Michiganders like to use brand names for different products?  We call tissues "Kleenex®" and most all pop is "Coke®" unless you specifically want a "Faygo" or "Vernors®" - and really there is no real ginger ale but gray clip art box of facial tissueVernors for a Michigander!

But think about Kleenex for a moment.  If you had a runny nose, and you asked someone for a Kleenex, would you want them turning you down because they only had a box of Puffs?  Nope!  You'd want the tissue, and you would want whatever tissue would do the job for you.  Some tissues are stronger, and some are softer.  Some are less expensive, and some come in a decorative package.

Lots of people want to take the GED, because that's the name they know and associate with High School Equivalency. The GED is a great test. So is the HiSET. (The TASC is also a great test that is no longer offered in Michigan but is offered in other states.) Each of these tests are valid tests to help you earn your High School Equivalency credential. But each test is also a "brand" of test. So why not have just one test for everyone? Lots of reasons!

  • Each test is based upon the College and Career Readiness Standards, which are like Common Core State Standards for Adult Education.
  • Each test covers the same subjects but in slightly different ways.
    • English Language Arts
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social Studies
  • Each test runs about the same amount of time in total.  [GED is 425 minutes in total.  HiSET is 445 minutes in total.]
  • Each test has a different cost.  The retake policy varies by test, too.  
    • GED:  $150 total [$37.50 for each of 4 tests]
    • HiSET - $123.75 total for computer testing; $145 total for paper/pencil testing
  • Different states offer different tests, but the credential you earn from the State of Michigan is valid in any state.
  • Want a paper/pencil test?  Pick the HiSET.  GED is computer-only!
  • Each test requires a written essay.
  • Each test has an option to take a shorter, inexpensive "readiness" assessment to see if you're likely to pass the actual test.
  • Each test allows for accommodations, if you qualify.
  • Each test is ONLY offered at an approved test center or remote testing direct from https://GED.com or https://HiSET.ets.org. Remote testing is only available at this time due to Covid-19. Remote GED tests require you successfully pass official GED Ready tests before taking the GED remote test.

Test Publisher Websites

State of Michigan HSE Information

High School Equivalency Transcripts and Certificates for Michigan

If you think that a High School Equivalency test is a good option for you, we recommend several steps:

  1. Find an accredited program to help you prepare for the test.  We may be biased, but we recommend Warren Woods Adult Education. Some people prefer to study on their own, and that's okay. It can also get really overwhelming if you struggle to teach yourself new concepts or need something explained to you. That's why prep programs exist, so take advantage of what they can offer!
  2. Talk to the program staff - counselors, administrators, and teachers. We can offer you suggestions, guidance, and instruction for your HSE journey.  We may also recommend pre-HSE/ABE classes if your test scores suggest that you might need a little extra help with some basic skills.
  3. Determine which test will work best for you. Each student is different in their style and needs, and sometimes employers will pay for a student to take a specific test. Find the one that's right for you.
  4. Sign up for an account on the website of the test you think will work best for you.  If you change your mind later, no biggie.  However, you will want to create an account before you begin testing.
  5. STUDY STUDY STUDY!  Really, you should study.  A lot of people are surprised that it's not very easy to just walk into a HSE test and pass it on the first try.  Students who are successful tend to study before taking the assessment.
  6. If you are eligible for accommodations, gather all the paperwork you need and submit your request for accommodations to the testing company.  This takes at least a few days, so give yourself time to get this task completed well in advance of your first assessment.
  7. Use a readiness assessment to make sure you're ready to test and to get feedback on areas that might need a little more work.
  8. Schedule and take a HSE test at a local testing center.
  9. Repeat steps as necessary until you complete your credential.

At Warren Woods Adult Education, we are often asked which is better - diploma or high school equivalency?

This is a really hard thing to answer, because it depends on a lot of factors. Ultimately, though, it's your choice. We offer options to you so you can pick what you feel is best for you and your goals. We may recommend one over the other but we do not decide for you.

Some people think a High School Equivalency test is an "easy" way out.  It's not easy, but it can be a great option for certain individuals.

Factors you should consider are:

  • Number of high school credits you need to earn a diploma [not just how many you have, which can be deceiving if you didn't complete your core class requirements]
  • Time available for completion
  • Skill level at entry into the program
  • Testing anxiety issues
  • Desire for a public graduation ceremony versus minimal fanfare
  • Employer support for a program
  • Costs involved
  • Completion of credential prior to moving out-of-state or portability of completed test modules
  • Postsecondary opportunities
  • Military requirements for enlistment

If you are unsure, please talk to the counselor upon registration into our prep program.  Students are often able to begin basic skills classes prior to deciding whether to pursue a diploma or HSE credential.