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High School Equivalency (HSE) Tests

California has approved the use of two high school equivalency tests (GED® and HiSET®) for students 18 years old and older, and 17 years old in some instances, for the purpose of receiving a California High School Equivalency Certificate.

Protect Yourself from HSE Testing Fraud

If you are considering taking the GED® or HiSET® test, please be aware of the following:

  • All tests must be taken in person, at an official Testing Center, and may NEVER be taken online, from your residence. Official testing center information can only be found on the web sites listed below.
  • Although some high school equivalency test preparation programs may issue “diplomas or certificates” demonstrating program completion, these documents ARE NOT official California high school equivalency credentials.
  • As of January 1, 2020, the California Department of Education (CDE) only authorizes the companies offering the GED® or HiSET® to issue a California High School Equivalency Certificate or Official Transcript.
  • There are many legitimate, fee-based, online and classroom high school equivalency test preparation programs. However, before enrolling and spending money for these courses, take advantage of the many free programs available through the California Adult Education Provider Directory External link opens in new window or tab., GED® External link opens in new window or tab. or HiSET® External link opens in new window or tab..

Higher Education Agencies and Employers

If you are considering hiring or enrolling persons who state that they passed a California High School Equivalency (HSE) test and you want the best assurances that the documents they have are “official,” you should request that they provide an original HSE Transcript—not a copy. As with a high school or college transcript, this official transcript will show you whether they did indeed pass their HSE test. Certificates have, unfortunately, been forged; however, California HSE Transcripts are designed with many security measures that ensure that they cannot be replicated.

Beginning July 1, 2020, the official California HSE Transcript paper will have the following security features:

  • The authentic document has California High School Equivalency printed continually across the face.
  • The words “unofficial” and “copy” appear on a photocopy of the document.
  • Hidden UV fibers appear under black light.
  • On the face is a color artificial watermark of the Department of Education seal.
  • The signature and seal in the bottom right corner of the face of an authentic document is printed with gradient color.
  • On the back of an authentic document a custom anti-copy artificial watermark (Department of Education seal) can be seen when held at an angle.
  • The authentic Department of Education seal on the back will change from color to clear when rubbed or warmed.
  • When this paper is touched by fresh liquid bleach, the authentic document will stain.

A black-and-white or color copy of this document is not an original and should not be accepted as an official document. Alteration of a California HSE Transcript may be a criminal offense.

Letters of Recognition for Higher Education and Employers
Memo from the CDE to Institutions of Higher Education and Employers and Letter on State-Authorized Examinations from the United States Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education.

 

TASC – No longer offered in California as of January 1, 2020.

Related Links

 

Assessment Spotlight web page contains archives of all previous Assessment Spotlight emails. Send a blank email to subscribe-caaspp@mlist.cde.ca.gov to receive regular updates on the latest information about the statewide assessment system.

Questions:   Proficiency, Equivalency, and Fitness Testing Office | HSEOffice@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9438
Last Reviewed: Thursday, March 26, 2020
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