The GED High school equivalency test will be replaced

Islanders who want to earn a high school degree by passing the General Education Development (GED) will face a new version of the exam in February, according to Jeffrey Agnoli, GED chief examiner, who oversees the test on the Vineyard. The new test is the High School Equivalency Test or HiSET.

“It will be roughly the same as the GED,” Mr. Agnoli said. “The new test will more closely reflect the common core curriculum used in the high school. I expect it to be a little more difficult than the GED.”

Mr. Agnoli has administered the test on Island since 1996. He is a former English teacher and guidance counselor at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS). He said that the test will cost about the same, $70, and will eventually be offered by computer and on paper.

The test is available to people who do not have a high school diploma and are not enrolled in school. “The high school equivalency certificate is readily accepted by trade and technical schools and by community colleges,” Mr. Agnoli said.

“Some people take the test for the sense of achievement it can bring, some because they want to pursue a trade and need it to enter a trade school.” He said that some immigrants take the test to help improve their employment options even if they have a high school diploma or college degree from their country of origin.

Mr. Agnoli said people fail to graduate from high school for a variety of reasons, but the most common are taking jobs before graduating or not being psychologically equipped to handle school when they were younger. He said that of the 27 who passed the test on the Island last year five were prisoners at the Dukes County House of Corrections. “The county sheriff, Michael McCormick is very supportive of the degree program at the jail for people who haven’t graduated from high school,” he said.

For many years, Massachusetts issued the high school equivalency credential commonly referred to as the GED, a licensed name. The State has contracted with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the new test, the HiSET.

Islanders interested in taking the test can contact Mr. Agnoli at jeffrey.agnoli@gmail.com. For general information on the HiSET, go to http://hiset.ets.org.