NEDP – The High School Equivalency Diploma

The NEDP is a lesser-known option for earning the High School Equivalency Diploma. Similar to the GED and HiSET exams, when students complete the NEDP program, they will receive a High School Equivalency Certificate or High School Diploma, depending on the state.

The National External Diploma Program (NEDP) allows adults to demonstrate they master high school-level knowledge and skills by completing academic tasks and demonstrating life skills.


Online GED Classes

Get a GED Diploma quickly.
It doesn’t matter when you left school.

Bite-size video lessons | Practice tests with explanation | 6 Bonuses


The program is one of the four options that students can use in New York to acquire a High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma. The program is available in eight states (more below).

The NEDP assesses skills and knowledge at the level of high school graduates and is targeted toward out-of-school youth and adults.

The NEDP measures writing, reading, and math skills, and evaluates workforce-readiness skills in real-world situations.

Through assessing high school-level competencies, the NEDP awards traditional diplomas so graduates from the program can continue their academic education and qualify for positions that require a high school or equivalent degree.

The program gives self-directed youth that quit school prematurely and adults who have considerable work and life experiences the chance to acquire an equivalent diploma. Basic computer and keyboarding skills are required, however, to be successful on the NEDP.

The program not only measures a student’s academic reading, writing, and math skills but also assesses life skills such as critical thinking, oral communication, social skills, self-direction, occupational awareness, and more workplace skills.

Also interesting is our post about GED and college dual-enrollment programs offered by a growing number of colleges and universities. These programs allow students to attend GED and college courses at the same time!

Who is Eligible?

In the State of New York, to qualify for the NEDP, students need to be New York State out‐of‐school youth or adults who did not complete their high school diploma.

The minimum required age in New York is 18, though applicants ages 16 and 17 may also qualify under specific conditions and restrictions.

Applicants need to take the CASAS2 Diagnostic Assessment and attain at least a 9th-grade level equivalency and attain at least a 9-score on the TABE-D3 math and reading portions.

In most other participating states, applicants must be at least 18 years old, but in Rhode Island, a minimum age of 21 applies.

NEDP Content Fields

The NEDP is a highly flexible program that measures a student’s competencies in fields such as Geography, Civics, Science, History, Financial and Health Literacy, as well as skills required in the contemporary workplace.

The program evaluates knowledge and skills in line with the U.S. Common Core College & Career Readiness standards. To learn more about which states use what High School Equivalency test, check out this page.

The NEDP assessment is a great solution for people who work full-time and have busy schedules. The assessment reflects everyday life and is a great help in reaching future goals.

The NEDP allows students to demonstrate high school-level knowledge and skills by applying their competencies in workplace, academic, and real-life contexts and assignments.

To be successful on the NEDP, students can use this website’s free GED video lessons and practice tests that will help them complete their NEDP assignments fast and efficiently.

Keep in mind, however, that this website’s free video lessons and practice tests represent just a fraction of what’s on the GED test. Our free resources are courtesy of Onsego GED Online Classes, a full, affordable, and accredited program that has provided the free support published on Gedeno.

The NEDP is a good alternative to the HSE (High School Equivalency) exam that the State of New York uses, the GED exam.

Three Basic FieldsFAQs about Online GED Classes and GED Test

The NEDP covers three basic content fields as well as seven functional life skills content fields. The three basic competencies cover:

  • Applied Math & Numeracy
  • Communication & Media Literacy
  • ITC (Information & Communication Technology)

Seven Life Skills

The NEDP includes seven basic Life Skills fields that cover these subject areas:

  • Community Participation & Civic Literacy
  • Financial Literacy & Consumer Awareness
  • Science
  • Cultural Literacy
  • Health Literacy
  • Geography & History
  • Contemporary Workplace Skills

Which States Offer the NEDP?

According to CASAS, more than 80 NEDP agencies in eight states offer the NEPD. These states are Virginia, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Indiana, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and California. Annually, some 3,000 students complete the NEDP, and on average, students will need some 8 months to complete the NEDP.

The NEDP is actually not a real test. It is a self-paced, highly flexible assessment program. Students will be working independently online to accomplish a number of assignments related to academic subject fields.

They can demonstrate their skills and knowledge by completing a number of online assignments. The NEDP can be completed at home, and the program’s flexibility also enables students with busy schedules to be successful.

The program doesn’t involve any classes, and students will meet personally with NEDP advisors for one hour every 1 or 2 weeks to review and discuss their progress. In New York, the state’s Department of Education will award the NY High School Equivalency Diploma to students who have completed the NEDP.

In Maryland, NEDP applicants need to be Maryland residents, at least 18 years old, not signed up for a school program, and not already have a secondary education degree. They also need to complete the TABE placement test at an NEDP site and attain sufficient scores.

In Rhode Island, NEDP participants must be RI residents and at least 21 years old. The RI NEDP orientation will be used to decide who qualifies for the program. Admitted candidates will meet weekly with an assessor (a “buddy”) and complete their online assignments. In Rhode Island, participants pay $300. The rest is covered by the state.

In Virginia, similar requirements apply, and here, the cost for the student is also $300, but they will have to pay an additional $100 if they don’t complete the program within 12 months.

In DC, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) oversees the NEDP in collaboration with the DC Public Schools and the DC Public Charter School Board. Some students, however, prefer to earn their high school diploma through an online school such as Excel High School, which offers various options.

NEDP History

In 1972, researchers studied why the U.S. “25-plus” adult population did not earn their secondary education credentials via high school completion programs that were in existence.

The studies revealed that the existing Adult Education class schedules were not compatible with the schedules and responsibilities of adult learners.

Additionally, it became clear that the programs’ content did not sufficiently relate to real-life circumstances and experiences and that the paper-and-pencil multiple-choice format was too limited.

Consequently, the NEDP (National External Diploma Program) was developed, and in 1975, it was launched in Syracuse, NY, as a serious alternative to the GED program (General Education Development).

The NEDP was very successful for New York adults, so the program was expanded to several other states as a way for students to acquire a high school equivalency diploma.

The program’s expansion was a success, and in 1979, the U.S. Department of Education recognized the program and supported national dissemination.

In 2006, Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) acquired the NEDP rights, assisted by the State Departments of Education from New York State, Connecticut, and Maryland.

CASAS is the administrative and policy-making organization for the NEDP. CASAS, a nonprofit agency, focuses on curriculum development and assessments of basic knowledge and skills for adults in general and youth in particular.

Programs developed and administered by CASAS are used by state and federal government agencies, training & education providers, community colleges, business & industry, technical programs, and correctional facilities.

Last Updated on February 14, 2024.