Testing in the Time of Covid

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped 2020 in countless ways. It’s altered the way we do life, work, school, and social gatherings. Even picking up groceries and sporting activities look and feel different. But here’s some good news: You can STILL reach your goal of completing your high school equivalency this year. You just need an extra dose of patience and flexibility as test format and administration changes evolve.

In-Person Testing

First, let’s address testing in-person at a test center. Some test centers ARE still open and offering a schedule of test appointments. But there are some things to note. Social distancing and safety procedures will be increased. This could include wearing a mask, decreased availability of appointments (to accommodate smaller class sizes and allow 6 feet between desks), and the distribution of hand-sanitizers and other cleaning supplies. Testers should plan to bring their own mask, as most test centers will not provide them and will not allow you to test without proper precautions. 

Testers may also be asked to complete additional COVID-related paperwork prior to or on test day. Parents may have additional forms to allow for underage testing, and test centers reserve the right to perform temperature checks on all who enter the facility. The local testing center will provide students with these guidelines via their website or within registration communication.

At-Home Testing

Historically, there has never been a legal at-home testing option for the high school equivalency exams—GED, HiSET and TASC. The national testing services have worked tirelessly to create valid testing opportunities for students hoping to complete their exams but are unable to test in person. Changes to test administration and format to standardized testing typically occur over many years, so frequent change and update should be expected. Each national testing site has varying rules and regulations, but there are some shared updates. Here are some of the most up-to-date aspects of at-home testing as of September 11, 2020.

Proctoring – All at-home testing requires a live monitor to observe testing throughout the duration of the exam. Testers must meet all the technical requirements to allow for this monitoring. HiSET testers must register with ProctorU prior to testing.

State offerings – At-home testing is not currently available in all states. You can learn more about your state via the national testing service specific to your exam.

Age requirements – Even if you are old enough to test, some states do not allow at-home testing for individuals under 18 years old. 

Language – At-home testing is currently offered in English only. A Spanish offering is in development, and test makers hope to launch this addition soon.

Online Test Fraud – The ONLY way to test legally at home is through the national testing service specific to your exam. Third-party testing is 100% illegal!

General Tech Requirements:

Hardware: Students must have access to a desktop or laptop computer with a webcam. Phones and tablets may not be used for at-home testing.

Compatibility: Test takers will be asked to run a system check for compatibility. Links are available at ged.com.

Private space: Testing must take place in a distraction-free room with four walls and closed doors.

ID check: Testers must present a government-issued ID and may be asked to verify with a mirror or smartphone.

Pre-test eligibility: Students must have a “green” GED Ready score within the last 60 days for each subject in which they hope to test.

If you meet the requirements, your next step is to register with the national testing service for your exam, ged.com or hiset.ets.org. On test day, you will need to log in 30 minutes prior to testing and follow the steps to get set-up.

Test Rules:

  • No cheating! You are being videoed and recorded.
  • No one else may be in the room for any reason.
  • No scratch paper, hand-held calculator, or note-taking will be allowed. Onscreen calculators, digital scratch pads, and whiteboard available will be available for GED testers. Testers are encouraged to visit ged.com to get familiar with these tools before testing. HiSET testers are allowed the use of a whiteboard under certain conditions.
  • No phones, headphones, or smart watches in arms length. All must be muted.
  • No food, drink or gum. Only a clear glass of water is allowed.
  • No talking outloud or looking around. Doing so may give the impression you are communicating with an outside source to answer questions.

Breaking any of these rules is serious and could result in the exam being revoked, loss of payment, or permanent ban from future testing.

Retakes and Retesting: 

Requests to retest at home due to a failed test launch or technical issues before the test is launched, and the student does not see test items are allowed.  

Requests to retest at home due to an internet connection or system issue, once verified, where the student has seen test items are only allowed to retest in a test center. 

If a student does not pass a test taken at home, retakes must be done in a test center

TASC testers, please note that an at-home option has not yet been launched. Continue to check tasctest.com for up-to-date changes.

Resources and Reminders

Please be aware that this information is constantly changing and shifting to meet students’ needs and state protocols. Continue to double-check regulations and do full research with the national testing sites for GED, HiSET and TASC. Look for the Covid-19 banner on the homepage. Know that at-home testing is still in the pilot stage. Long term solutions will be a partnership between national testing service providers and state officials.

You CAN get your credential in 2020! The path just might look a little different. Continue taking those valuable preparation steps, knowing Essential Education is here to help

For more information on the latest testing updates, Watch Our Video

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