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High School Equivalency Advisory, Issue 1

The High School Equivalency Advisory (HSE) provides updates to test center staff administering the California HSE tests.

High School Equivalency Advisory - September 19, 2019

Focusing on information necessary for California High School Equivalency (HSE) testing centers, Chief Administrators, Testing Examiners, and other testing center staff administering one or more of the three authorized HSE tests in California: the General Educational Development (GED®) Test; the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET®); and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC™).

TASC Administration Ending in California

At its July meeting, the California State Board of Education (SBE) approved the California Department of Education’s (CDE,) recommendation to end agreements with TASC provider Data Recognition Corporation (DRC); ending TASC examinations in California effective December 31, 2019. TASC testing centers should work with current test takers to have them complete all testing by the end of this December. Students who do not successfully complete all TASC exams by December 31 will be required to start over with one of the two remaining SBE-approved HSE vendors. If TASC testing centers are interested in continuing to offer HSE examinations, they should reach out to the two remaining HSE vendors about transitioning to one or both of those HSE programs.

Homeless and Foster Youth Fee Waivers

Beginning in 2017, test registration fee waivers were made available to all certified homeless and foster youths interested in working toward an HSE certificate. The waiver applies only to the registration fee for the HSE tests. To obtain a fee waiver, each eligible homeless child or youth under twenty-five (25) years of age must complete the Homeless Certification Form.

“Homeless child or youth” means a homeless child or youth as defined in paragraph two of Section 725 of the federal “McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC Section 11434a[2]). This information is available on the Homeless Certification Form.

“Foster youth” means either current or former foster youth as defined by California Education Code Section 51421.5(h). To be eligible for a fee waiver, at the time of registration for a test administration, a foster youth must submit all standard required registration materials to the contractor(s), including documentation required for all testing accommodations that the individual may need and certification of the registrant’s foster youth status. This certification may be provided by the county or the California Department of Social Services. A Homeless and Foster Youth flyer is available that can be printed and posted in your offices to share the message about the availability of the waivers.

New Official HSE Certificate and HSE Transcript Paper

Nearly 20 years have passed since the California HSE Certificate was last redesigned. A new design has gone into production and will be available in January 2020. The new design comes with additional security measures to ensure authenticity. In February, we will post a sample of the new design and share some of the related security measures on the HSE website. Ensuring the security and authenticity of the certificates and official score reports (otherwise known as transcripts) is essential. Therefore, we have redesigned the certificates (as mentioned above) and, in January 2020, we also will introduce new official score report paper. The new official score report paper is embedded with state-of-the art security. Also, later in July, we will post a sample of the new official score reports and share some of the related security measures on the HSE website.

Official Credentials

For decades, California test takers have received a paper certificate in recognition of their passing the HSE battery. However, that is not the only credential document they receive. Passing test takers have also received their official score report (otherwise known as a “transcript”). That document, is the true, or “official,” indication of their successful completion of an HSE test battery. Test takers should be informed that their official score report should be kept safe and shared only with employers and/or postsecondary education institutions for admissions when requested. In recent years, the CDE has identified an increase in forged certificates and therefore does not recommend the use of the certificate for verification of passing the HSE batteries.

Authorized Proof of Identity and California Residency

Determining if vulnerable HSE test takers meet legal definitions of identity and residency can be quite a challenge. The CDE has worked with the HSE vendors to identify a list of documents: (1) personal identity; and (2) California residency when registering for and admission to a test. These identified documents can be used to meet both state and vendor requirement for the vast majority of test takers. This is not an exhaustive list and testing centers may need to contact the CDE for verification and approval of other documents presented by the test taker.

Beginning in September 2019, California HSE testing centers shall accept the following documents, as specified:

  • Acceptable forms of identification that meet both requirements of (1) personal identity; and (2) California residency:

    • Current California driver license
    • Current California identification card
    • Current tribal enrollment card (if the card includes a current address.)

If none of the foregoing are available, the test taker can establish identity separately from California residency documents by providing one document from each of the two lists below:

  • Acceptable forms of personal identification:
    • Photographic driver license, with a signature, issued by any US state or foreign government
    • Photographic identification card, with a signature, issued by any of the US Armed Forces, any US state, or any foreign government
    • Photographic tribal enrollment card with a signature.
    • Photographic identification card or badge, with a signature, issued by a California department or agency (e.g., California Conservation Corps)
    • Photographic passport, with a signature, issued by the US or a foreign government
  • Acceptable forms of proof of California residency:
    • Current rental or lease agreement
    • Current deed or title to residential real property
    • Current mortgage statement
    • Current home utility bill
    • Current cable or phone bill
    • Current employment documents
    • Current insurance documents
    • Current Internal Revenue Service or California Franchise Tax Board tax return
    • Court documents that list the applicant as a California resident
    • Current California certificate of vehicle or vessel title or registration
    • Completion of the California HSE Declaration of California Residency

The “California HSE Declaration of California Residency” provides a means by which a test taker can swear to be a “resident” of California and enroll for testing. This declaration should be used only when all other forms of authentication are unavailable.

Homeless and Foster Youth Demographic Information

Beginning this summer, each HSE vendor will include new data fields as part of the test registration process that will allow the collection of the test taker’s homeless and/or foster youth status. The completion of these fields will be done by the test taker. The HSE vendors will utilize these new data fields to report annual homeless and foster youth participation in HSE testing to the CDE.

HiSET Now Provides eCredentials and Paper Credentials

Beginning September 1, 2019, Parchment will begin mailing paper copies of the HSE Credentials (the ceremonial HSE Certificate and official score report) to all passing HiSET–ETS test takers. Test takers should keep their addresses up to date. Nothing extra is required of Testing Center staff to process this change. Test takers will still receive their eCredentials upon passing, just like before.

Register for Future Advisory Issues

Are you interested in receiving future issues of the California High School Equivalency Advisory? Send a blank email to subscribe-hse@mlist.cde.ca.gov to receive regular updates with the latest information about the California HSE programs. The Advisory will be sent quarterly or when “need to know” information becomes available.

Please share this email with any educators in your testing center and/or local educational agency who would be interested in or benefit from this information. If you have questions or would like to provide a topic for future Advisory issues, please send them to HSEOffice@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   High School Equivalency and Outreach Office | hseoffice@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9438
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
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