Pennsylvania Students Now Able to Choose High School Equivalency Test

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera yesterday announced that in an effort to encourage autonomy and provide Pennsylvanians with choices in obtaining their high school equivalency certificate, the state has entered into partnerships with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to offer the HiSET equivalency exam and with GED Testing Services (GTS) to offer the GED exam.

“Now, more than ever, Pennsylvanians need the flexibility to pursue their educational and career goals in the manner that best meets their needs, and the added option of the HiSET exam grants them that opportunity,” said Rivera. “There are multiple pathways to success in today’s economy and by offering a choice in measurement tools, more adults and those who did not graduate will have access to the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma and, ultimately, the jobs they hope to obtain in the future.”

Under the agreement, Pennsylvanians who did not graduate from high school will be able to choose between the HiSET exam and the GED exam when taking their high school equivalency test. Both state-approved tests measure the skills needed to obtain equivalency and are recognized and accepted by colleges, employers, and the U.S. military.

Those who pass either test will receive the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD), Pennsylvania’s official high school equivalency credential offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The HiSET exam, developed in 2014 by ETS and Iowa Testing Programs, is offered in 17 other states and four U.S. territories and is both paper- and computer-based.

The CSSD is available to residents of Pennsylvania who do not possess a high school diploma and who have met criteria specified in the Pennsylvania Code (22 PA Code § 4.72). The GED exam, developed in 1942 to test veterans of World War II for postsecondary readiness, has until now been Pennsylvania’s sole testing option. In 2014, more than 2,000 passed the GED exam, granting them new opportunities at postsecondary institutions and in the workforce.

For more information about the HiSET exam, please visit For more information about the CSSD and the GED, click here.

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