In the U.S., four states offered the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC exam, in 2021 for high school equivalency testing purposes: New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana, and New York State. However, the TASC exam was discontinued.
New York now uses the GED exam, West Virginia switched to the HiSET, New Jersey, which offered three options, now offers the GED and HiSET exams, and Indiana changed to the HiSET® exam earlier in 2021.
High School Equivalency (HSE) testing offers individuals who didn’t complete high school the opportunity to get hold of an education degree that’s the equivalency of a common high school credential.
The TASC™ exam was similar to the former GED® edition but the GED exam has changed considerably some years ago so, in this post, we’ll take a look at the most significant differences.
If you live in a state that used the TASC exam exclusively, you could not take the GED exam for earning your high school equivalency degree. Then you had to pass the five subject tests of the TASC exam.
The five TASC independent subtests (modules) covered the following academic subject areas: English Language Arts Reading, English Language Arts Writing, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science.
You could take the modules one at a time and they were available both in a paper-based format and computer-based. This did not apply to New Jersey where all options must be taken on a computer.
TASC vs GED
Just like the GED test, the TASC exam measured your skills and knowledge at a level comparable to that of high school graduates. The exam also assessed your critical reasoning and analytical skills.
In the U.S., there were, until the end of 2021, three options open to states for the purpose of High School Equivalency testing, the GED, TASC, and HiSET exams.
The three HSE (high-school equivalency) exams were not identical. GED testing includes four separate subject tests that, as said before, must be completed exclusively on a computer.
The GED exam has combined two Language Arts sections into one “Reasoning through Language Arts” subtest. So the GED has four subtests (Math, Social Studies, Science, and Language).
The GED and HiSET exams can be taken at state-designated test centers or over the internet.
The five TASC modules were not offered online. You had to come to an official TASC test center in person. You can read more about online GED testing here.
Most states still use the GED but as this option is only offered on a computer, more and more states offer multiple options.
States that offered the TASC exam
The TASC exam was used exclusively in Indiana, New York, and West Virginia, but now, all states opted for an alternative exam as the TASC exam was discontinued. New Jersey offered three options for HSE (high school equivalency) testing, the TASC, GED, and HiSET exams, but now, the TASC is no longer available and the two remaining options are only offered in a computerized format.
The TASC exam was developed a few years back by Data Recognition Corp (DRC) in reaction to important changes to the GED exam that became only available on a computer, became in line with the American Common Core Education Standards, and the price increased significantly.
Consequently, two alternatives (the HiSET and TASC exams), were developed and several states decided to implement an alternative to the GED exam for high school equivalency testing.
The TASC was a rigorous exam and proper preparation was absolutely required. Testing occurred, like with the GED and HiSET, at a level comparable to that of graduating high school students. The most noticeable discrepancies between the TASC and the GED were the format (paper- and computer-based), flexibility, and cost.
The TASC exam was available in English and Spanish but that also applies to the GED test. For test-takers with special needs, the TASC exam was offered in large print, Braille, or in audio. On July 1, 2021, Indiana transitioned from the TASC to the HiSET exam, and the other states followed later that year.
Another advantage of the TASC was that it was aligned to the Common Core State Education Standards gradually. In this way, more students could stay competitive for professional and educational purposes.
But it was not all easier than the GED. Many students said that the Math portion of the TASC was more difficult than the math section of the GED test.
The TASC required a thorough understanding of all of the five academic subject fields, but particularly Math seemed to be more challenging than on the GED but you could use a calculator, for example, the TI-30XS, and if you had learned how to use it well, passing the math exam was a breeze.
The TASC measured knowledge on all sorts of subject matter, from trigonometry to chemistry, and usually, test-takers needed to put in lots of studying if they wanted to be successful on the TASC exam.
In general, we can say that the TASC exam was slightly less expensive than the GED test, but the cost was varying by state. Check here to learn about the cost in your state.
The entire TASC exam (five subtests) would take around 8 hours to complete but you could take one (or more) of the subtests at a time. Let’s see what the five modules covered:
What was on the TASC exam?
- Language Writing Test – This section was 105 minutes. Your English Language Writing knowledge was measured through multiple-choice questions. You also had to produce an essay that was based on a prompt that included one or two passages. Read here more about tips for writing your essay. It’s a post about writing a HiSET essay but the same applies to the GED.
- Language Reading Test – This portion took 75 minutes. You had to be able to identify the main idea and supporting details of a given passage. Sometimes, you had to compare texts and determine arguments and style. The passages could be nonfiction or fiction.
- Science Test – This part was 85 minutes and covered Life, Physical, and Earth & Space Science. There were multiple-choice questions about matter & energy, cellular life, ecosystems, waves, evolution, geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy.
- Social Studies Test – This section was 75 minutes long and contained multiple-choice questions relating to U.S. & world history, government & civics, economics, and geography. Most questions related to government & civics, economics, and U.S. history.
- Math Test – This portion took 105 minutes. There were multiple-choice questions that related to algebra, probability, statistics, and geometry. You could use a calculator and you also got a formula sheet.
TASC scoring system
The five TASC modules were measured on a 300-800 scale and on each TASC subtest, you had to reach at least a 500 score. So your overall score could not be under 2500. And for your essay, you needed to attain at least a score of 2.
Bear in mind that the minimum score (500 points) had to be attained on EACH of the five sections. So even if your overall score was higher than 2500, you hadn’t passed the TASC exam if your score on one of the subtests was less than 500!
If you failed one subtest, you could retake that subtest for free and you got two free retakes. This offer stood for 12 months. Thereafter, the regular fee would apply again.
The diploma that was awarded after you had successfully taken the five TASC modules qualified you for a well-paying job, job advancement, and also a college education.
People that hold a secondary education degree will, on average, earn at least $9,600 more annually than people who don’t hold a secondary degree. Successfully taking the five TASC subject tests would definitely lead to a more rewarding and successful future!
The diploma that you would receive after you passed the five TASC subtests is across North America recognized in the same way as a standard high school degree by institutions of high education, employers, and government organizations.
Today, earlier TASC scores count as well toward your GED or HiSET results!
Last Updated on December 28, 2021.